News Release

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NIH to increase pay levels for pre- and postdoctoral scholars at grantee institutions

Increase applies to more than 17,000 research trainees and includes additional funds for childcare and training-related expenses.

The National Institutes of Health (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). Predoctoral scholars will receive an approximate 4% increase in their pay level bringing it to $28,224, and 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 NIH Advisory Committee to the Director to better attract and retain postdoctoral scholars. The new NRSA pay levels incorporate the largest year-over-year update since 2017.

“I have accepted the recommendations of the report on this important issue that was provided by my advisory group. 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 Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D. “This revision of pay levels for NRSA recipients is just a first step toward reaffirming their value and ensuring they are appropriately compensated, and 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 advisory group, 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 remained flat in the constrained budget environment. Pending the availability of funds through future appropriations, NIH plans to further increase stipend funding levels over the next three to five years to reach the advisory group’s recommended starting pay level of $70,000 annually for postdoctoral NRSAs. Additionally, NIH-funded institutions may supplement NRSA recipients’ new pay levels with additional, non-NIH funds and/or benefits.

“NIH is committed to improving the experience of postdoctoral scholars and helping them thrive in a competitive biomedical research environment,” said Mike Lauer, M.D., NIH deputy director of extramural research. “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.”

The pay-level increase was informed by recommendations of NIH’s Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD). Those recommendations were based on significant feedback from the research community and a report from a special working group the ACD convened. The working group was charged with undertaking several evaluations to determine how best to build on current NIH efforts to improve the biomedical workforce. The NIH ACD provides input on a variety of matters pertinent to NIH’s responsibilities to conduct and support of biomedical research, medical science and biomedical communications.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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