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Join Us for a Seminar Exploring the Impact of Research-Active Institutions on Scientific Workforce Diversity

November 08, 2023

I am pleased to announce that our 2023–2024 Scientific Workforce Diversity Seminar Series (SWDSS) will begin with “How Do Research-Active Institutions (e.g., HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs) Impact the Diversity of the Scientific Workforce?Registration is now open for this seminar, which will take place on Thursday, November 30, 1:30–3:00 p.m. ET.

The seminar will feature a panel discussion on the critical role of Research-Active Institutions (RAIs) in enhancing scientific workforce diversity. Panelists will also discuss how NIH and other funders might better partner with and support RAIs to expand their impact.

We refer to RAIs as institutions that have a mission to serve historically underrepresented populations in biomedical and behavioral research; award degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) fields; and have received an average of no more than $25 million in NIH Research Project Grant support for the past three fiscal years. RAIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), particularly in rural areas, in keeping with the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

Seminar attendees will learn about the institutional factors that contribute to the development of a diverse scientific workforce and the strategies RAIs employ to achieve student and faculty success in STEMM. In addition, attendees will better understand the institutional barriers and opportunities facing RAIs, as these relate to promoting diversity throughout the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise.

The following subject matter experts will participate in the discussion and a question-and-answer session:

The seminar is open to the entire biomedical and behavioral science research community, particularly leaders of RAIs. Please share the registration link with your networks.

Engagement and Access for Research-Active Institutions Initiative

The seminar also marks the launch of NIH’s Engagement and Access for Research-Active Institutions (EARA) initiative. Led by the COSWD team on behalf of NIH UNITE, EARA is a collaboration and communication-focused intervention that aims to connect RAIs—particularly HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs—with existing NIH opportunities.

EARA’s key advisors include the following NIH institutes, centers, and offices (ICOs):

  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences
  • National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Center for Scientific Review
  • Office of Extramural Research
  • Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management

However, EARA intends to catalog the offerings of all ICOs and connect RAIs with ICOs that have aligned interests.

RAIs, particularly HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, often support critical scientific research and provide health care in underserved communities. Thus, RAIs are uniquely positioned to engage these communities in research and the translation of research advances into culturally competent, measurable, and sustained improvements in health outcomes.

Yet many RAIs could benefit from additional research infrastructure and capacity to advance health-related research. Qualitative data from the UNITE RFI and Listening Sessions demonstrate that institutions often find it difficult to determine which NIH resources best match their needs. Reciprocally, it has been found that NIH staff often are unaware of how best to disseminate news of programs that could be useful for RAIs within individual ICOs.

EARA will address these challenges by connecting RAIs and ICOs with programs that may be of interest. By better communicating funding opportunities, this initiative aims to remove one of the barriers RAIs face in accelerating research progress, addressing disparities in research opportunities and outcomes, and enhancing scientific workforce diversity.

I look forward to sharing more about EARA as it evolves. In the meantime, please join me for our November seminar to learn how RAIs contribute to scientific workforce diversity.

Our next seminar in March 2024 will focus on team science and diversity. Subscribe to the COSWD mailing list to receive seminar updates and other COSWD news.