1. What is diversity? How important is a definition of diversity for managers and companies? How much does it need to change, if at all, as we move from company to company, go across borders, or operate as a multi-national organization?
The over-arching goal of this NHLBI R25 program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce by providing research training and research opportunities to undergraduate and health professional students. To accomplish the stated goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
Some institutions provide unique opportunities for access to participants and faculty from diverse backgrounds. These institutions can assist NIH in its efforts to recruit the most talented researchers from all groups, to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols, and improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities. These institutions are therefore encouraged to apply for NIH support.
Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as preceptors/mentors. In addition, if applicable, to complement expertise or broaden training experience, PD(s)/PI(s) are encouraged to leverage mentors/co-mentors from other institutional programs (e.g., Clinical and Translational Science Awards, CTSA). Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the mentee’s participation in this award.
For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period, and the success of the program in attracting and retaining individuals from diverse populations, including populations underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral and clinical research. Has the program been adequately evaluated and has the level of success been satisfactory? Do the results of the evaluation document a continued need for support for this program? Is the approach for the next project period responsive to the results of the program’s evaluation? Has the research education program successfully achieved its stated objectives during the prior project period? Has the research education program successfully recruited a diverse pool of participants (if applicable)? Has the PD/PI effectively shaped the recruitment plan in response to recruitment outcomes? Has the program been innovative in the past and does it continue to demonstrate innovation? Has the program been adequately evaluated and has the level of success been satisfactory? Do the results of the evaluation document a continued need for support for this program? Is the approach for the next project period responsive to the results of the program’s evaluation?
For those individuals who participated in the research education program, the report should include information about the duration of education and aggregate information on the number of individuals finished the program in good standing. Additional information on the required Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity is available at Frequently Asked Questions: Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity ().
Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to enhance the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will enhance diversity on a national basis.
Does the proposed program address a key audience and an important aspect or important need in research education? Is there convincing evidence in the application that the proposed program will significantly advance the stated goal of the program? Does the proposed research education program address an important problem or critical question in research education or other critical issues? How will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of the proposed program? Is the proposed program likely to ensure that participants will be prepared for successful and productive scientific careers and therefore contributing to a diverse research workforce? Does the program provide research experiences in inter- or multi-disciplinary research and/or provide opportunities in state-of-the-art or novel methodologies and techniques to address cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic diseases or sleep disorders?
Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan. The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.
Program Faculty. Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as program faculty. Faculty should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program and demonstrate a history of, or the potential for, their intended roles. The applicant institution must have the requisite staff to carry out the proposed program. Describe the characteristics and responsibilities of the participating faculty; provide evidence that the participating faculty and preceptors are actively engaged in research or other scholarly activities related to the mission of NIH. Provide evidence that the collaborators and other researchers are appropriately trained and well-suited to the proposed research education program.
Awardee Meeting. Upon initiation of the program, the NHLBI will hold one 2-day meeting during the project period to encourage the exchange of information among the PD(s)/PI(s) that lead diversity focused research education, training, and career development programs. Therefore, in the preparation of the budget for the grant application, the PD(s)/PI(s) should allocate staff travel supporting one 2-day meeting during the third project year only to be held in or near Bethesda, MD. At these meetings, PD(s)/PI(s) will present their research program, share progress, and discuss next career steps for participants. The meeting may also include other Training Directors who are preparing participants for independent research careers.