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Racial Disparities in NIH Funding


In 2011, Ginther et al. reported a significant racial gap apparent in NIH R01 funding. That report noted the funding rate for R01 applications from Black/African American scientists was 10 percentage points lower than for all other groups after controlling for an applicant’s educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and institution characteristics. This wake-up call urged NIH and the biomedical community to look closely at individual and systemwide potential contributors and solutions, codified in 13 recommendations by the NIH advisory committee to the director (ACD). Implementation of these recommendations over the past 5 years began in 2014 and is ongoing, and we are seeing very promising evidence of narrowing the racial funding gaps. The racial and ethnicity funding gap for K awards has been eliminated and slightly narrowed for R01-equivalent awards (98% of which are R01s). Moreover, over the same time period, the number of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups majoring in biomedical sciences has increased dramatically. Although these recent data trends signal positive news toward our ability to eliminate racial/ethnic funding gaps across all NIH grant mechanisms, the small pool of URG applicants for R01 grants represents both a challenge and an opportunity for deriving targeted solutions. Click on the slide show below for details.

NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Actions and Progress: Narrowing the Funding Gap

acd meeting presentation cover

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Published Research and Editorials


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