Washington Update

NIH Boosts NRSA Pay Levels for Graduate Students and Postdocs

By: Nabila Riaz
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
On April 23, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a statement announcing increases in stipends and childcare subsidies for predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars supported by NIH Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs). Postdoctoral scholars will now receive a minimum salary of $61,008, reflecting an 8 percent increase from the previous level, while graduate students will see their pay rise by approximately 4 percent to $28,224. Additionally, eligible early-career researchers will receive a $500 increase in childcare subsidies and an additional $200 for training-related expenses.

These updated pay levels for fiscal year 2024 were influenced by recommendations from the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) aimed at better attracting and retaining postdoctoral scholars. Although these increases represent the largest year-over-year update since 2017, they fall short of the ACD's recommended minimum of $70,000. The NIH press release noted that these increases are based on current funding levels, which have remained flat due to budget constraints. However, NIH plans to gradually raise stipend funding levels over the next 3 to 5 years to reach the $70,000 target, subject to the availability of funds through future appropriations.

In the press release, NIH Director Monica Bertagnolli, MD, announced her acceptance of the recommendations put forth by the ACD postdoc working group. NIH also announced its intention to release a request for information (RFI) soon to gather input on specific recommendations from the ACD. This initiative aims to ensure that the biomedical research workforce and enterprise remain robust and globally competitive in the years to come.