Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplements to Promote Research Continuity and Retention of NIH Mentored Career Development (K) Award Recipients and Scholars

Released Date
Expiration Date
Activity Code
Full Announcement

Frequently Asked Questions - NOT-OD-23-031


To help overcome faculty attrition and minimize workforce loss, NHLBI offers supplemental funding opportunities to eligible early-stage investigators facing critical life events. These supplements provide up to $70,000 in direct costs for up to one year to support research projects during critical life events, such as childbirth, adoption, serious personal health issues, or primary caregiving for an ailing spouse, child, partner, or a member of the immediate family during the project period. The funding can help sustain the investigator’s research by supporting additional personnel, computational services, and supplies and equipment.

Application Deadlines

June 1, October 1, and February 1. View the funding opportunities for details: For career development (K/K99) awardees, see NOT-OD-23-031. For first-time research project grant (RPG) & R00 awardees, see NOT-OD-23-032. View NHLBI eligibility requirements for the IC-specific table for NOT-OD-23-031 or the IC-specific table for NOT-OD-23-32.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When during the project period of the parent grant can I submit a supplement application for this program?

An application for this administrative supplement program may generally be submitted any time during the original project period, as long as there is at least one year remaining on the parent grant on the supplement application due date (see NHLBI supplement application due dates below).

2. Can I apply for supplemental funds during a No Cost Extension (NCE)?

PD/PI’s with a parent grant in a NCE are not eligible to apply. NHLBI requires that the applicant has a minimum of 12 months remaining on the parent grant on the supplement application due date.

3. If the qualifying life event occurred in the past, is the PI eligible to apply for the supplement?

NHLBI will consider applications where the critical life event occurred up to two years before the application due date. However, the more time that has passed since the life event, the stronger the justification, i.e. the applicant needs to show that the delay caused by the life event is still negatively affecting their research progress.

4. How much personnel effort or other supplement support is appropriate?

Flexible use of supplemental funds is highly encouraged to support successful research within the scope of the parent project, including supported effort of additional personnel, computational services, supplies, and equipment to sustain the research of the PD/PI during a critical life event. NHLBI will consider whether the request is reasonable and balanced relative to the amount of time away from research. For example, if the applicant is away from the lab for 4-8 weeks yet 12 CM effort is requested for personnel, a detailed plan and strong justification should be provided to explain why this support is appropriate and commensurate with time away from research due to the critical life event. Additionally, significant budget requests for supplies or equipment should clearly outline how these items will support your return to productivity. NHLBI may reduce the supplement award amount for applications that do not provide sufficient justification.

5. Can supplement funds be used to support a new research aim (answering a new scientific question) within the scope of the original grant?

Supplement applications submitted to NHLBI may not propose new research aims distinct from the parent grant. The primary intent of the program is to provide supplemental support during a critical life event, so that the impacted investigator does not get delayed in his/her research and can maintain productivity or progress.

6. Can supplement funds be used to cover PI salary for K awardees?

Supplement funds are not intended to be used for PI salary support. The supplement may be used to support additional personnel, computational services, supplies, and equipment.

7. Can I use supplement funds for something I already budgeted for?

The supplement application may not request costs already provided by the parent award. Supplement funds must be used for costs that are separate and distinct from the parent award and are required in order to complete the aims of the grant. The supplement application should delineate what is needed to assist the candidate to complete their project, and state clearly that the requested supplement does not overlap or duplicate support.

8. How are qualifying critical life events defined for the purposes of this supplement?

Childbirth, adoption, serious personal health issues or illness and/or debilitating conditions, high-risk pregnancy, and primary caregiving responsibilities of an ailing spouse, child, partner, parent or a member of the immediate family during the project period are critical life events that would qualify for consideration.

9. Which individuals are defined as “immediate relatives”?

Per OPMexternal link: An individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:

  • Spouse, and parents thereof;
  • Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;
  • Parents, and spouses thereof;
  • Brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof;
  • Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;
  • Domestic partner and parents thereof, including domestic partners of any individual in 2 through 5 of this definition; and
  • Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

10. How are “primary caregiving responsibilities” defined/operationalized?

A primary caregiver is defined as an individual providing the majority of care, support or guardianship to another individual.

11. Do K awardees need to be in a reduced effort OR reduced appointment status to be considered for supplement funds?

In circumstances in which the critical life event is pending/expected to occur during the project period, or has occurred in the recent past (typically defined in the past year), the supplement request must address if a temporary reduction in effort has occurred (see NIHGPS Temporary Adjustments to the Percent Effort Requirement). The supplement application should tell NIH how the requested support will assist the candidate to complete their research project and state clearly that the requested supplement is not overlap or duplicate support.

12. Is personal illness/critical condition considered a qualifying critical life event for these supplements?

A serious personal health issue or illness and/or debilitating condition(s) is a qualifying critical life event. The term serious personal health issues or illness and/or debilitating conditions has the same meaning as used in OPM'sexternal link regulations for administering the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). That definition includes such conditions as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, severe injuries, Alzheimer's disease, pregnancy, and childbirth. The term serious personal health issues or illness and/or debilitating conditions is not intended to cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief. The common cold, influenza, earaches, upset stomach, headaches (other than migraines), routine dental or orthodontia problems, etc., are not serious health conditions unless complications arise. For example, for most individuals who contracted H1N1, this influenza did not rise to the level of a serious health condition.

13. Are COVID-19 related events considered a qualifying critical life event for these supplements?

COVID-19 related events are generally not considered a qualifying critical life event for NHLBI supplements. Primary caregiving for an immediate family member with prolonged recovery from COVID-19 may qualify as a critical life event. For all other pandemic related impacts to productivity, please see NOT-OD-20-086 (Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19).

14. What are the eligible NIH Research Project Grant mechanisms?

PD/PIs of the following activity codes are eligible for the program: DP1, DP2, DP5, R01, R00, R15, R16, R21, R34, R35, RF1, R37 and U01 and who have a qualifying critical life event. PD/PIs with more than one independent research project grant award are ineligible for this supplement.

15. What are the eligible Career Development (K) award mechanisms?

PD/PIs of the following activity codes are eligible for the award: K00, K01, K07, K08, K22, K23, K25, K38, K43, K76, and K99/R00 (in the mentored K99 phase of the K99/R00).

15. Are institutional K awardees (e.g., K12, KL2, etc.) eligible for this supplement?

This supplement is intended for mentored individual K awardees. Institutional K awardees (K12, KL2, etc.) are not eligible to apply.

17. What are the due dates for applications?

NHLBI has three application due dates/year: February 1, June 1 and October 1.

18. What needs to be included in the application?

Supplement requests must be submitted in accordance with the parent program announcement: Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional ) PA-20-272 or its subsequent reissued equivalent.

Supplement requests should be submitted electronically. The process for Streamlined Submissions using the eRA Commons cannot be used for this initiative.

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, PA-20-272 and NOT-OD-23-031 or NOT-OD-23-032 (or their subsequent reissued equivalents) must be followed. Applicants must include the notice number in box 4b of the SF424 R&R form.

The following items are to be included in the PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form:

1. Research Strategy to include:

  • Progress to date. The original specific aims of the research project and a brief progress report including the roles of personnel working on the project.
  • Statement of need and plan to address the need: a description of how the critical life event has impacted or will impact progress on the award, including dates and total time away. Describe the ongoing or pending work to be managed during the period of the supplement award and how the administrative supplement will increase or preserve the likelihood for the project to succeed.
  • Budget justification. A description of how the supplement funds will be used to offset the impact to the research program as a result of the critical life event.
  • Available other support. A description of any additional funds available to ensure sustained research and the availability of carryover funds from previous years and any local assistance, including matching funds or specified 'in kind' support.

2. Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development attachment: Personal statement of the applicant, including long-term research objectives and career goals, a justification for the supplement support, a plan for the use of the supplemental funds and a plan to return to full productivity at the end of the supplement period.

3. Institutional Commitment to Candidate's Research Career Development attachment:
Institutional letter of commitment that includes details of resources and mentoring to be made available to the applicant to ensure strong productivity on the parent grant. The letter should also detail the institutional commitment to the applicant's return to full productivity and research career trajectory at the end of the supplement period.


Please contact your parent award Program Director or one of the contacts below to discuss the proposed supplement prior to submission:

Karin Lidman, Ph.D.
Office of Research Training & Career Development
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences

Marisol Espinosa-Pintucci, Ph.D.
Division of Lung Diseases