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Developing Diversity

The National Institutes of Health wants to expand the diversity of the national biomedical research workforce that it helps to support, and said yesterday it plans to fund three new efforts to try to engage scientists from underrepresented background and prep them for NIH-funded careers.

Supported under the Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforceprogram, the new grants will seek to fund a national consortium that will develop, implement, and study new approaches for encouraging individuals to launch biomedical research careers.

"There is a compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical research workforce,” Francis Collins says. “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.”

One of the initiatives to be funded is the National Research Mentoring Network. NIH plans to provide $2.3 million per-year for up to five years to support the network, which will establish an interconnected set of mentors around the country that will span all the disciplines that NIH funds.

NIH also will provide a total of $30 million to fund 10 projects under the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program, which seeks to support under-resourced institutions with high concentrations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The initiative also will provide $1.8 million per-year for five years for a Coordination and Evaluation Center, which will assess the efficacy of the initiative's training and mentoring programs and it will serve as a hub for sharing data and knowledge about these diversity and research training programs.