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An administrative supplement is an increment in funding to support research that is within the original scope of an active NIH research grant (parent grant). Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs) holding NIH research grants may request supplemental funds for two purposes: 

  • To provide funding to meet unanticipated costs not included in the previous competitive or non- competitive application, or 
  • To provide funding for special populations to enter or re-enter biomedical research.

Check the Funding Opportunities page for the most recent funding opportunities announcement for Administrative Supplements.

Important Caveats

A supplement that requests a change in scope may not be submitted as an administrative supplement. Instead, it must be submitted as a competitive supplement or a revision. 

PDs/PIs are strongly encouraged to consult with their NHGRI Program Director (PD) to confirm eligibility, discuss the scope of and need for the proposed supplement, discuss alignment with NHGRI’s research priorities, and obtain technical assistance. 

PDs/PIs must have an active funded NHGRI grant and the proposed supplement may not exceed the original project period end date of the active grant. 

Administrative supplements may be submitted throughout the fiscal year but should be requested at least 90 days prior to the anticipated need and no later than by May 15. Only in rare situations will a supplement request be considered if submitted after this date. Due to fiscal and system constraints, supplements are not awarded in the Oct-Nov timeframe.

Administrative Supplements to Meet Unanticipated Needs

Supplemental funds can be requested for emergency or other unforeseen situations that result in unforeseen costs, including to: 

  • provide for orderly closeout or provide minimal funding to sustain the final year of a project pending the first re-competition; 
  • cover costs associated with natural or manmade disasters that damage the PDs/PIs lab or other research resources; 
  • cover the replacement cost of essential equipment that has failed; 
  • cover unexpected or increased costs of performing laboratory experiments and analyses; 
  • follow up on unanticipated results or to enhance components of the research that have been unexpectedly productive; and 
  • update equipment or methodologies that will significantly enhance productivity or efficiency.

In order to be eligible for a supplement to meet unanticipated needs:

  • The grantee must have an active funded NHGRI grant and the proposed supplement MUST be within the general scope of the peer-reviewed activities and aims approved for the parent grant (See Change in Scope for more information).
  • The grantee must be unable to pay for the requested item or resource by re-budgeting available funds.
  • The parent grant's estimated unobligated balance for the budget period must, in general, be less than 20% of the annual award.
  • The grant must have a reasonable period of research support remaining at the time of the supplemental award (usually one year or more).
  • The supplement must not to be used to pay for increased costs due to an investigator's change of institution or promotion.

Administrative Supplements for Special Populations

Supplement programs are used to enhance the participation of individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as individuals: (1) from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis; (2) with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and (3) from disadvantaged backgrounds. These include:

  • High school students
  • Undergraduate students
  • Bachelor’s and Master's Degree Holders
  • Graduate (Predoctoral) and Health Professional Students
  • Individuals in Postdoctoral Training
  • Investigators Developing Independent Research Careers
  • Scientists re-entering the work force after taking time off for family responsibilities

If appropriate, the purpose of these awards is to prepare individuals to submit applications for individual fellowships or investigator-initiated research.

Individuals may receive support under these programs on only one grant at any given time but may be supported by more than one grant during their research careers.

Check the Funding Opportunities page for the most recent funding opportunities announcement for diversity and re-entry administrative supplements.

How to Apply for Administrative Supplements

The supplement request must be submitted electronically through grants.gov using ASSIST or the eRA Commons. Login to the appropriate website (grants.gov or eRA Commons) and prepare an administrative supplement request following the instructions for the chose submission option: eRA Commons Administrative Supplement User Guide.

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application forms and instructions for preparing a research grant application, with the following additional guidance:

  • Checklist: Select “Revision” in the “Type of Application” field.
  • Face Page (Form Page 1): On the face page of the application form, note that your application is in response to a specific program announcement, and enter the title and number of this announcement.
  • Research Plan: At a minimum, the Research Strategy section should be completed and must include a summary or abstract of the funded parent award or project. Other sections should also be included if they are being changed by the proposed supplement activities.
  • Project/Performance Sites section (Form Page 2): Include the primary site where the proposed supplement activities will be performed. If a portion of the proposed supplement activities will be performed at any other site(s), identify the locations in the fields provided.
  • Sr/Key Personnel section (Form Page 2): List the PD/PI as the first person (regardless of their role on the supplement activities). List any other Senior/Key Personnel who are being added through this supplement, or for whom additional funds are being requested through this supplement; include a biographical sketch for each.
  • Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period (Form Page 5): A proposed budget should be submitted using the PHS 398 budget forms and should only include funds requested for the additional supplement activities.
    • If applicable, attach documentation in the Appendix section indicating that the proposed research experience was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the grantee institution. Adherence to the NIH policy for including women and minorities in clinical studies must also be ensured, if additional human subjects’ involvement is planned for the supplement component.
    • PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information: This form is optional. Given that the proposed supplement should not change the scope of the awarded parent project, it will typically not be needed. If new recruitment or use of an additional existing dataset or resource is proposed in the supplement application, Section 2.4 should be revised and new Inclusion Enrollment Reports created, as appropriate.

The grantee institution, on behalf of the PD/PI of the parent award, must submit the request for supplemental funds directly to the awarding component that supports the parent award.

Review and Funding of Administrative Supplements

Review: In general, requests for administrative supplements for NHGRI grant awards do not require evaluation by an initial peer review group or consideration by a national advisory council/board, but are subject to review and approval by NHGRI’s program and grants management staff.

Funding: Funding decisions are contingent upon how well the supplement aligns with NHGRI’s research priorities, urgency of the supplement, and availability of funds.


Contact for general information on NHGRI’s administrative supplements policy:

Jennifer Troyer, Ph.D.
National Human Genome Research Institute/National Institutes of Health 

Contact for availability of supplements to specific grants:

The PD/PI must contact the NHGRI Program Director listed in the Notice of Award.

Contact for financial or grants management policy:

Deanna L. Ingersoll
National Human Genome Research Institute/National Institutes of Health

Last updated: February 26, 2024