NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH Announces Pay Increases for NRSA Scholars

Three smiling scientists in lab coats high-five each other in front of a computer.

NIH will increase annual pay levels for predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars at NIH-funded external institutions who are recipients of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA). The increase applies to more than 17,000 research trainees.

Predoctoral scholars will receive an approximate 4% increase in their pay level bringing it to $28,224; postdoctoral scholars will receive an approximate increase of 8%, with pay levels beginning at $61,008 and upwardly adjusted based on years of experience. NIH aims to increase these pay levels over the next five years. 

Eligible recipients also will receive a $500 increase in subsidies for childcare and an additional $200 for training-related expenses. The updated fiscal year 2024 pay levels are informed by recommendations from the advisory committee to the NIH director (ACD). The new NRSA pay levels incorporate the largest year-over-year update since 2017. 

“NIH and our grantee institutions must invest in pre- and postdoctoral scholars to ensure the future of the biomedical research workforce and enterprise remains strong and globally competitive,” said NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli. “This revision of pay levels for NRSA recipients is just a first step toward reaffirming their value and ensuring they are appropriately compensated. I am hopeful these continued efforts help us attract and retain our nation’s brightest scientific minds.” 

While the amended pay levels do not reach the full funding increase recommended by the ACD, NIH selected the current plan to allow for an immediate pay increase without drastic cuts to the number of available NRSA awards, though a small reduction in the number of positions is expected. The increase is based on current NIH funding levels, which remain flat in the constrained budget environment. Pending availability of funds via future appropriations, NIH plans further stipend boosts over the next three to five years. 

“I believe implementation of these recommendations will go far in giving these scholars the sense of job security and career prospects that will lead to long careers in biomedical research,” said Dr. Mike Lauer, NIH deputy director for extramural research.  

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