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Supplements to Grants—Administrative, Revision, and Research Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Administrative Supplements


Research Supplements

Are supplements a type of grant?

No. A supplement is funding added to an existing grant or cooperative agreement.

What are the different types of supplements?

NIAID supports three types of supplements: administrative, revision, and research.

If I'm recovering from a natural disaster, can I request supplemental funds or time for my project?


How do I request supplemental funds or time to recover from a natural disaster?

Call your program officer, who will advise you on whether to proceed. We will consider issuing administrative supplements to extend time and replace equipment, supplies, and other resources. Read more in the Administrative Supplements to Grants and Cooperative Agreements SOP.

For overview of NIH's disaster policy, go to NIH Extramural Response to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies.

Administrative Supplements

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

What is an administrative supplement?

An administrative supplement pays for research expenses that come up after an application is funded. NIAID awards them under strictly defined circumstances. Read more in the Administrative Supplements to Grants and Cooperative Agreements SOP, and ask your program officer for advice.

Is there a dollar limit to how much can be requested in an administrative supplement?

There is no limit to the amount of funding you can request; however, you must justify your budget and provide a scientific rationale.

For administrative supplements, how does NIAID define significant unexpended balances?

We don't define a number for a significant unexpended balance. When judging whether a balance is significant, we consider the nature of the work and the amount of the supplement.

For example, if you ask for a supplement of 5 percent, we might consider a 25 percent unexpended balance significant and ask you to rebudget instead. But if you ask for a supplement of 60 percent, we might not.

Keep in mind that these are just examples, not actual situations. We look at the entire request, including the type of work you are doing.

Do I need to list an administrative supplement award as other support?

Don't list it as other support, but add the time of the supplement to the time and effort of the parent grant. Also include the supplement in the grant's total dollar amount.

How long do I have to spend an administrative supplement?

Grantees can request an administrative supplement to begin at a point after they make a request and should identify a specific timeline to use the funds within the grant project period. Only request administrative supplements for immediate needs above what your current grant funds can support. If that immediate need would take multiple years to complete within the remaining grant project period, request funds in one-year budget period increments for those out years in the same request.

Keep in mind, NIAID does not allow administrative supplement applications in the first or last year of a grant.

Do I need to send my PHS 398 forms for an administrative supplement through the mail?

No. We actually prefer that you send us the forms in an electronic format. 

Assuming your parent award has not moved to electronic submission, your signing official should send a scanned PDF of the signed original and the checklist directly to your NIAID program officer. Be sure to note the administrative supplement program announcement title and number from the funding opportunity announcement on the face page.

However, if your parent award has moved to electronic submission, you can also apply electronically through or the eRA Commons. These two options tend to provide a faster turnaround time.

Read our Administrative Supplements to Grants and Cooperative Agreements SOP to learn more.



Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

What is a grant revision?

A grant revision (formerly called competing supplement) provides funds to expand the scope of an existing award. See the Revision of a Grant SOP for more information.

For comparison of revisions and other competing applications, see Resubmission, Revision, and Renewal Applications on NIH's Frequently Asked Questions about applying z.

Where should I put the progress report section of my revision application?

In the Research Strategy section. For more information, go to Preliminary Studies in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Research Supplements

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

What is a research supplement?

Research supplements provide a grantee additional funds to hire qualified scientists. There are three types:

Read more at Research Supplements in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards, and visit our Research Supplements page.

Who can apply for a research supplement?

Only a research project's principal investigator may apply on behalf of a qualified project team member. For details, read Applying for a Research Supplement.

Does a research supplement include facilities and administrative costs?

Yes. Research supplements cover facilities and administrative costs. For more information, contact the grants administrator at your institution.

Should I include diversity supplements when calculating a PI's salary cap?

No. PIs do not receive salary support from diversity supplements. Funds go directly to students, postdocs, and faculty scientists who are brought onto a project under the supplement.

For more on NIAID's diversity supplements, read Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

Does NIAID restrict direct costs requests for R01 diversity supplements?

Yes. Budget caps vary by career level.

For guidance, go to Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

What is a primary caregiver supplement?

A primary caregiver supplement provides a grantee funds to hire a mid- to senior-level technician to support a postdoctoral research scientist who is taking care of a child or sick family member. Find out more at Primary Caregiver Technical Assistance Supplements.

What is a reentry supplement?

A reentry supplement provides a grantee funds to hire qualified scientists who have taken time off to care for children or parents. Find out more at Reentry Supplements.

What is a diversity supplement?

A diversity supplement provides a grantee funds to hire qualified scientists from an underrepresented group. Find out more at Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

Is there a deadline for diversity supplement applications?

There is no deadline for submission. However, there are some important dates to keep in mind when you plan your submission:

  • March 1. If you're trying to bring on high school or undergraduate students for summer work, we need your application by March 1 to ensure you receive funding by summer of the calendar year. As a rule we suggest you submit applications for these students as early as possible.
  • April 15. If you're trying to get funded before the end of a fiscal year, you have to apply by April 15.

Read more at Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

As a student candidate for a research supplement, how can I write a relevant biographical sketch?

We recommend using the biosketch from your mentor's grant application as an example.

As a doctoral student, we do not expect you to have extensive experience or publications. Include all section headers whether or not you have information for that topic.

Read more at Emphasize Expertise in Biosketches in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can I supplement NRSA stipends from R01 funds?

No, you cannot, even if the NIH training grant stipends are not enough money for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to live on. It's against regulations to supplement a stipend with funds from an NIH grant.

What's the difference between a supplement and compensation?

The terms 'supplement' and 'compensation' refer to different ways of supporting a graduate student, fellow, or trainee, though administrators and faculty may use the term supplement nonspecifically to refer to compensation.

Compensation can be salary, fringe benefits, or tuition remission for limited, part-time employment, apart from the normal training activities supported by a fellowship or training grant. This work can include teaching or laboratory assistance, and it cannot detract from or prolong the training.

NRSA fellows and trainees are normally compensated with stipends—money allocated in fellowships and training grants to help defray living expenses—at levels set by NIH each year. Go to NRSA Stipend Levels for this year's levels.

A supplement simply provides additional money—there is no requirement for additional work.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.​

Last Updated March 11, 2016

Last Reviewed March 01, 2012