Anonymizing Peer Review for the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award Applications

NIH is seeking applications for the 2021 Transformative Research awards through a new funding opportunity (RFA-RM-20-013) recently released on Friday, May 21, 2020. And, as a way to address concerns about bias in peer review while also enhancing diversity, this High Risk, High Reward program is going to anonymize the review of Transformative Research Award applications. Continue reading

Expanding NIH’s Definition of Socio-Economic Disadvantaged to be More Inclusive and Diversify the Workforce

NIH has considered a different approach to defining scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds. We reviewed a wide variety of criteria, looking for those that are relatively easy to self-evaluate and that capture a large proportion of affected people. Continue reading

Delving Further into the Funding Gap Between White and Black Researchers

In a paper recently published in Science Advances, we delved into the underlying factors associated with the funding gap between white and black researchers. We identified three decision points where disparate outcomes arose between white and black researchers: 1) the decision to bring applications to discussion during peer review study section meetings; 2) impact score assignments for those applications brought to discussion; and (3) a previously unstudied factor, topic choice – that is what topic the investigators chose to study. Continue reading

Achieving Gender Equity at Conferences

Inviting women to speak at conferences matters for many reasons – it’s a matter of fairness; it gives eminently qualified women a level playing field; it is just the right thing to do. In essence, it’s about changing the fundamental culture of the biomedical research enterprise to allow full participation from people of all backgrounds. In that vein, I’d like to remind you that if you are applying for an R13 conference grant from NIH, please be sure to read the requirements in the Funding Opportunity Announcement, where meeting diversity is a long-standing expectation. Continue reading

NIH Wants Your Input on Increasing Diversity Among Biomedical Research Faculty

Promoting scientific environments that can encourage and benefit from a full range of talent is necessary in biomedical research today. The NIH Common Fund is conducting strategic planning for a potential new program exploring ways to create a route of entry and advancement for talent from diverse backgrounds into independent academic faculty positions. NIH is seeking broad input on this approach from academic institutional leadership, biomedical faculty, and interested members of the public. Continue reading

Trends in Diversity within the NIH-funded Workforce

As highlighted in many previous blog posts and the recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, promoting a strong biomedical workforce is a top priority for the NIH.  In 2017, NIH launched the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, which is a multi-pronged approach to increase the number of NIH-funded early stage investigators. An important component of this initiative is the call for increased transparency and availability of data about the make-up of the biomedical research workforce. More complete data will allow NIH leadership to best understand and address the needs of our emerging workforce. Continue reading

How Would You Address Diversity in the Physician-Scientist Workforce?

As part of a wider initiative to shape the future direction of research training for the biomedical workforce as a whole, we at the NIH are actively pursuing ways to examine the physician-scientist workforce and to optimize training for clinicians seeking research careers. Physician-scientists face some challenges and career transition pathways unique to being in a clinical career track, hence the need for a specific focus on this workforce. Continue reading

Reminder of Your Responsibilities in Upholding Civil Rights

We’ve published many posts discussing the importance of diversity in the workforce. However, one related aspect we haven’t yet discussed here is how you can, and do, contribute to protecting the civil rights for all individuals, and eliminating barriers and providing equal access to activities supported by NIH funds. Before NIH makes an award to an applicant organization, the organization enters an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the institution, as well as any researchers and key personnel supported by NIH funding, will comply with Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of …. Continue reading