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21st Century Scholars Program

The 21st Century Scholars Program promotes ongoing awareness of workforce diversity in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) extramural research program. Sponsored by the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) Office, the 21st Century Scholars Program builds a self-reinforcing culture of mentoring and support at NIH.

Applications for the FY22 cohort are now closed, but the COSWD Office is optimistic that we will be able to support a second cohort in FY23. If you are interested in learning more about eligibility requirements or being notified of future application cycles, please click here.

Defining Characteristics

  • Delivers a 6-month program with distinct levels of engagement: cohort and personal mentoring
  • Establishes learning pathways that have both theoretical and praxis components
  • Addresses all three current COSWD principles: Build the evidence, Disseminate the evidence, Act on the evidence
  • Provides broad, hands-on experience to work collaboratively with common NIH processes (e.g., planning workshops, crafting a Funding Opportunity Announcement [FOA], etc.)
  • Contributes to ongoing COSWD Office diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives

Program Advisory Committee

The 21st Century Scholars Program Advisory Committee includes representatives from the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Office of Human Resources, Diversity Catalysts and Employee Resource Groups. The committee meets regularly to inform program components, eligibility/selection requirements, and evaluation.

Components of the Program

  • Foster Cohort Engagement. Monthly Journal Club discussions. Participants expected to lead discussions on selected articles
  • Build Mentoring Pods. Monthly meetings to discuss Journal Club assignments, implications for professional and personal growth, and more
  • Reduce Isolation and Build Community. Team events, connections with Employee Resource Groups, other COSWD Office outreach activities
  • Enhance Work Skills. The COSWD Challenge: A team activity focusing on developing proposals for projects (e.g., FOAs, workshops, other meetings or collaborations, etc.) that support the COSWD Office mission

Questions? Please contact the 21CSP Program Staff at


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