Government Relations Update

NIH working group releases recommendations for enhancing diversity of research workforce

Recommendations address data collection, mentoring and institutional support, bias and diversity strategy.

In June 2012, a working group appointed by the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a report describing its findings and recommendations for enhancing diversity in the biomedical research workforce. The working group was established following the publication in 2011 of a study that found that black applicants were less likely to receive an NIH R01 grant than white applicants, even after controlling for a variety of factors (see previous coverage).

The report includes 13 specific recommendations that fall into 5 broad areas: 

  1. data collection/evaluation; 

  2. mentoring/career preparation and retention; 

  3. institutional support at universities/academic health centers, and at NIH; 

  4. bias-related research and intervention testing; and 

  5. NIH diversity strategy and infrastructure. 

The working group also developed a series of research questions for the NIH to explore to understand more fully the factors that may influence the experience of underrepresented minorities as researchers and trainees in biomedical and behavioral science.

NIH leaders are now reviewing the recommendations to determine which recommendations are feasible and how they could be implemented.