NIH Blueprint and BRAIN Initiative Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award (F99/K00 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

The purpose of the NIH Blueprint and BRAIN Initiative Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award is to support a defined pathway across career stages for skilled graduate students from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions, and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers.

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) does not allow candidates to propose to lead an independent clinical trial, but does allow candidates to propose research experience in a clinical trial led by a sponsor or co-sponsor.


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): 30 days prior to the application due date
  • Application Due Date(s): April 15, 2024; Oct 8, 2024; March 20, 2025; Oct 7, 2025; March 20, 2026; Oct 6, 2026

RFA-NS-24-030 Expiration Date October 07, 2026

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

F99 Eligibility: Domestic institution/organization types listed above that grant PhD or equivalent research degrees (e.g., Dr.P.H., Sc.D.) are eligible to submit an application. More than one F99 application per institution is allowed.

K00 Eligibility: Domestic institution/organization types listed above are eligible to submit K00 transition phase applications on behalf of individuals receiving support from F99 awards. There is no limit on the number of K00 applications an organization may submit. Note that if the individual receiving support under an F99 award accepts a postdoctoral position in the NIH intramural research program, the postdoctoral phase will be supported directly by NIH intramural funds and the K00 will not be awarded, since NIH intramural scientists are not eligible to receive support from NIH extramural grant awards. However, these researchers can still participate in the D-SPAN annual meeting, networking, and career development activities.

Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status).  

This NOFO is available to support predoctoral students who have a baccalaureate degree and are currently enrolled as a graduate student in a PhD or equivalent research doctoral degree program (e.g., EngD, DNSc, DrPH, DSW, PharmD, ScD) in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences at a domestic institution. The candidate must be conducting neuroscience research in a topic area relevant to NIH Blueprint mission-relevant areas and/or BRAIN Initiative research areas. Note that NIDCD participation is limited to BRAIN Initiative research areas only; NIDCD does not participate in the NIH Blueprint.

At the time of award, the candidate must be at the dissertation research stage of training and is expected to require 1-2 years to complete their PhD dissertation research training (F99 phase) before transitioning to mentored postdoctoral research training (K00 phase). At the time of application, the candidate will typically be in the third or fourth year of their graduate program. The candidate must show commitment to a career as an independent neuroscience research scientist.

The D-SPAN F99/K00 award may not be used to support studies leading to the MD, DDS, or other clinical, health-professional degree (e.g., DC, DMD, DNP, DO, DPM, DVM, ND, OD, AuD, clinical PhD). Students matriculated in a dual-degree program (e.g. MD/PhD, DO/PhD, DDS/PhD, or DVM/PhD) are not eligible for the F99/K00 program.

If a candidate begins a postdoctoral position or completes all PhD dissertation requirements before an F99 award is made, neither the F99 award nor the K00 award will be issued. 

No more than one fellowship application in support of any one candidate may be submitted at a time: An individual may not be a candidate in two or more competing NIH individual fellowship applications pending review concurrently. A candidate for an NIH D-SPAN F99/K00 Award may not simultaneously be a candidate in an application pending review for any other PHS fellowship award (e.g. F31 or any other PHS award that duplicates any of the provisions of the F99/K00 award). Individuals receiving support under current F31 awards are allowed to work with their institutions to apply for the D-SPAN award.

      Funding Type



      African American
      Grad/Prof Students
      Minorities encouraged
      Native American
      Women of Color


      Engineering and Physical Sciences
      Environmental & Life Sciences
      Medical - Basic Science
      Medical - Clinical Science
      Medical - Translational

      External Deadline

      April 15, 2024