Evaluating our impact is the core of the COSWD’s pursuit of evidence-based goals, informing program management and ensuring accountability. It forms the basis for determining whether to pursue an effort, how to do so effectively, and how to improve programs. We identify appropriate outcomes, metrics for assessing outcomes, and timelines on a programmatic basis, given the variation in program purposes and scope.
Previously Catalyzed Programs
FIRST – The Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program, funded by the NIH Common Fund, maintains cultures of inclusive excellence in the biomedical and behavioral research community. It facilitates institutions in building a self-reinforcing community of scientists, through recruitment of early-career faculty. NIH expects FIRST efforts to lead to the recruitment of talented researchers with a diversity of perspectives, to improve the quality of the training environment, to balance and broaden perspectives in setting research priorities, and to positively impact scientific discovery. The concept of FIRST originated in the COSWD office and the COSWD continues to serve on the Steering Committee for its Implementation.
As part of the NIH Anti-Harassment Program, a Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey (WCHS) was administered in January 2019 to NIH staff including employees, contractors, fellows, and trainees. The survey was voluntary, confidential, and anonymous. Results from the survey helped in assessing the workplace climate and in identifying elements of NIH’s organizational climate associated with harassment.
Diversifying the scientific workforce and expanding recruitment and retention are two of COSWD’s central goals. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the challenges associated with achieving these goals and created new barriers to creating a diverse scientific workforce. To assess the impact of the pandemic on the research workforce and research institutions and identify the potential implications on these underrepresented groups in the scientific workforce, COSWD developed and fielded the NIH COVID-19 Impact on Extramural Researchers Survey and the NIH COVID-19 Impact on Extramural Institutions Survey in October 2020.