1. Does the FRLC proactive outreach strategy only work for scientists from underrepresented groups?
No. While the strategy is designed to address known sociocultural barriers that affect individuals from underrepresented groups in pursuing a scientific career, the outreach strategy benefits all groups.
2. How long does it take to plan a conference like the NIH FRLC?
Planning can take 9 months or more, with most of the effort attributable to participant selection and one-to-one matching for meetings between conference presenters and institutional leadership and scientific researchers.
3. How do you advertise the FRLC program to ensure having a diverse pool of participants?
At NIH, we leverage other diversity training programs, such as the Diversity Supplement program offered by all NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs), and we advertise to individuals associated with these programs. We also employ other outlets familiar to scientists of diverse backgrounds.
4. How much does it cost to host such a FRLC-like conference?
The cost is largely dependent on the conference length, size, and whether the host is planning to provide travel and accommodation expenses. For the FRLC, excluding travel and accommodations expenses, cost per invited participant ranges from $600-$800. These costs are attributable to renting venues, creating publicity materials, and labor for organizing the event.
5. How many scholars should we invite?
We select approximately 30 early-career scientists to attend the annual NIH FRLC conference. We have observed that keeping the conference size small promotes hands-on experiences, meaningful personal interactions, and effective informal networking sessions.
6. Do you have any success stories?
Survey data indicate that our previous FRLCs, which used the proactive outreach model to build social capital and career development, have increased participants’ awareness of NIH scientific career opportunities. We continue to gather data on application rates over time, but we have already seen participants applying to NIH scientific jobs after participating in the FRLC program.
7. Does NIH offer funding for institutions to host FRLC-like conferences?
No. Currently NIH does not have a funding mechanism to provide financial assistance for other institutions to host FRLC-like conferences.