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 can I submit a supplement application for this program?
You can submit an application for this administrative supplement 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)?
Program directors and principal investigators (PDs/PIs) with a parent grant in a NCE are not eligible to apply. NHLBI requires that applicants have a minimum of one year remaining on the parent grant on the supplement application due date.

3. Can I apply for the supplement if the qualifying life event occurred in the past?
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 needs to be. For example, applicants must describe how the delay caused by the life event is still negatively affecting their research progress even though a significant amount of time has passed.

4. What is an appropriate amount of personnel effort and budget to request?
NHLBI encourages flexibility when PDs/PIs use these funds to support their research within the scope of the parent project. Funds can support additional personnel, computational services, supplies, and equipment to sustain the research of the PD/PI during a critical life event. NHLBI considers whether the request is reasonable and balanced relative to the amount of time away from research. For example, if applicants are out for 4-8 weeks, but they request 12 calendar months effort for personnel, they should include a detailed plan and strong justification 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 I request personnel effort and budget for predocs and postdocs?
NHLBI provides flexibility when PDs/PIs use supplemental funds to support their research within the scope of the parent project. Although pre- and post-doctoral effort may be requested, there needs to be a detailed and strong justification provided explaining why other staff (ex. technician, research associate etc.) cannot perform the tasks. In addition, the applicant must outline how working on the supplement will not negatively affect the pre- or postdoc’s own career trajectory and delay progress on achieving their doctorate (predoc) or independence (postdoc). Maximum stipend allowed follows NRSA guidelines for the current NIH fiscal year. See NOT-OD-23-076 or its subsequent equivalent.

6. Can I use supplement funds 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 their research and can maintain productivity or progress.

7. Can I use supplement funds to cover PI salary?
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.

8. 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 which 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.

9. How does NHLBI define “qualifying critical life events” 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.

10. How does NHLBI define “immediate family” for the purposes of this supplement?
See OPM definitions related to family member and immediate relative. Per OPM an immediate family member is an individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:

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

11. How does NHLBI define “primary caregiving responsibilities” for the purposes of this supplement?
A primary caregiver is defined as an individual providing the majority of care, support, or guardianship to another individual.  For applications that identify primary caregiving as the critical life event, a description of the types of activities associated with this responsibility should be described.

12. Do I need to address reduced effort OR reduced appointment status on my K-award in my supplement application?
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).

13. 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's 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 does not 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 does not rise to the level of a serious health condition.

14. 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. However, 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, view NOT-OD-20-086 (Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19).

15. What are the eligible Career Development (K) award mechanisms?
PDs/PIs of the following activity codes are eligible for supplemental funds if they have a qualifying critical life event:K01, K08, K22, K23, K25, K38, and K99/R00 (in the mentored K99 phase of the K99/R00).

16. 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 application due dates?
NHLBI has three application due dates a year: February 1, June 1, and October 1.

18. What do I need to include in my application package? 
Follow the guidance outlined in your 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.

Submit the application electronically. The process for Streamlined Submissions using the eRA Commons cannot be used for this initiative.

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

Include the following items in the PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form:

  • Research Strategy:
    • Progress to date. Summarize the original specific aims of the research project and progress to date on the parent mentored career development award. If applicable, include the roles of personnel working on the project.
  • Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development:
    • Personal statement by the applicant, including long-term research objectives and career goals.
    • Statement of need and plan to address the need. Describe how the critical life event has impacted or will impact progress on the award, including dates and total time away. Explain how the research team will manage the ongoing or pending work during the period of the supplement award, and how this supplement will increase or preserve the likelihood for the project to succeed.
    • Plan for the use of the supplemental funds, and a plan to return to full productivity at the end of the supplement period.
    • Justification of budget. Describe 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. Describe any additional funds available to ensure sustained research. These may include carryover funds from previous years and any local assistance, such as matching funds or specified 'in kind' support.
  • Institutional Commitment to Candidate's Research Career Development:
    Attach an 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
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Marisol Espinoza-Pintucci, Ph.D.
Division of Lung Diseases
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)