We recognize that the high cost of childcare impacts the ability of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in many ways, including successfully completing their training and fully participating in the extramural research workforce. Pieces like these from Scientific American in 2019 and 2020, Science, and Nature Cancer as well as this recent report underscore the reality faced by some early-career researchers when balancing professional and personal responsibilities.
NIH is dedicated to fostering a well-trained and diverse biomedical research workforce, which involves supporting family-friendly policies and initiatives that balance work and family life for all biomedical researchers. Trainees and fellows supported by National Research Service Awards (NRSAs), for instance, are eligible for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child.
As part of our on-going efforts to develop programs which support family-friendly research environments for the NIH-supported workforce, NIH will begin providing an option for NRSA fellows to request support for childcare costs in new and continuation applications or as administrative supplements to existing awards effective April 8, 2021.
The NRSA childcare costs apply to full-time NIH-NRSA supported fellowship positions. Each fellow is eligible to receive $2,500 per budget period to defray childcare costs. The NRSA childcare costs are not tied to any payback obligations.
NRSA fellows are encouraged to carefully review this Guide Notice for more information, and contact relevant NIH staff with any questions if needed. Please stay tuned as related guidance is expected for NRSA supported trainees in Phase 2 of this initiative (anticipated in early fiscal year 2022).