The National Institutes of Health has established a fund to set up a consortium to develop, implement, and evaluate approaches to encourage minority researchers to start and stay in biomedical research careers. Three new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) have created the “Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH Funded Workforce” program to help transform the biomedical research workforce pipeline through institution-wide, and eventually nationwide, implementation of successful training and mentoring strategies.
“There is a compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical research workforce,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins M.D., Ph.D. “A lack of diversity jeopardizes our ability to carry out the NIH mission because innovation and problem solving require diverse perspectives. The future of biomedical research rests on engaging highly talented researchers from all groups and preparing them to be successful in the NIH-funded workforce.”
The FOAs will establish a consortium of awardees from three integrated initiatives. Awardees will collectively determine hallmarks of success, including core competencies, at each phase of the biomedical career pathway and develop complementary training and mentoring approaches to enable young scientists to meet these hallmarks. Awardees will also test the efficacy of these approaches, and provide flexibility to adjust approaches during the course of the program to maximize impact. The consortium will disseminate lessons learned, so effective approaches can be adopted by other institutions across the nation.
The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) will be a nationwide network of mentors and mentees spanning all disciplines relevant to the NIH mission.
Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) will provide support for relatively under-resourced institutions with high concentrations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds to implement transformative approaches to the training of students to undertake biomedical and behavioral research.
The Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) will coordinate consortium-wide activities and assess efficacy of the training and mentoring approaches developed by the BUILD and NRMN awardees.
The NIH believes the program will fund up to 10 BUILD primary institutions, one NRMN, and one CEC, contingent upon the availability of funds and receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Applications for the FOAs are due March 18, 2014, with awards to be announced in September 2014. More information about these awards can be found on http://commonfund.nih.gov/diversity/index.