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Science for Everyone

The US National Science Foundation is starting a $75 million initiative to make the scientific community in the country more inclusive, reports Jeffery Mervis at ScienceInsider.

This INCLUDES program will give out small, two-year pilot study grants of $300,000 later this year to institutions to test new ways of promoting diversity and inclusiveness. Those awardees will then be able to compete next year for a larger, five-year $12.5 million grants, of which the agency will be awarding five.

"NSF Director France Cordova has spoken repeatedly about her intention of moving the needle on the [underrepresentation of women and minorities in the scientific workforce] since taking office in March 2014," Mervis notes. "And this initiative, totaling roughly $75 million, could well be the signature program of her 6-year term."

The program solicitation gives some insight into what the agency is looking for, Mervis adds. One example it gives would be to study the feasibility of enabling all high schools in a state to offer Advanced Placement courses in calculus, computer science, or engineering. Another example would be an organization creating an initiative to attract more diverse PhD candidates to its field.

Preliminary proposals for a pilot INCLUDES grant are due April 15.