Extensions for Early Career Scientists Whose Career Trajectories Have Been Significantly Impacted by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with extensive mitigation measures, has adversely affected progress in many biomedical research settings. Evidence from multiple sources, including a survey NIH issued to its supported extramural research workforce last fall, indicates legitimate concerns about career trajectory for early career scientists, including those with caretaker responsibilities. An article by Dr. Erin Gibson and her colleagues argued for a “reset” with focus on early career investigators. One point I took away from this paper is that a reset does not necessarily mean for us to go “back to normal” after the pandemic is over, because that time may have favored certain investigators and disfavored others (something I reflected on in this video and this blog).

Hearing your concerns, NIH issued a Guide Notice last week detailing our approach to support early career scientists whose career trajectories may have been significantly affected by the pandemic as funding will allow). Specifically, NIH is providing an opportunity for recipients in their last year of NIH Fellowship (“F”) and NIH Career Development (“K”) awards who have been impacted by COVID-19 to request extensions. Such extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, within the existing constraints of available funding. We encourage you to read the Guide Notice and if appropriate reach out to NIH staff as directed.
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Enhancing Diversity at NIH-Funded Conferences

At NIH, we have and continue to focus not just on gender equity but on ensuring greater diversity in all aspects of the biomedical workforce. This means, that along with women, members of racial and/or ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are also included. To help ensure that the nation remains a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation, NIH needs the richness and breadth of varied perspectives that comes from having a pool of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds.

In that spirit, today we released a guide notice (NOT-OD-21-053) that updates guidance for NIH R13/U13 Conference Grant applicants and recipients. Continue reading

NIH Challenges Academia to Share Strategies to Strengthen Gender Diversity

On behalf of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health has launched a new challenge competition to promote the advancement of women in leadership roles in academia. It is called the NIH Prize for Enhancing Faculty Gender Diversity in Biomedical and Behavioral Science. Dr. Janine Clayton, Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health, described the competition as one that will recognize institutions that have successfully and systemically addressed gender diversity and equity issues among faculty members in biomedical and behavioral sciences (see her full post here.) Continue reading