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FASEB J. 2018 Jun 19:fj201800639. doi: 10.1096/fj.201800639. [Epub ahead of print]

Examining trends in the diversity of the U.S. National Institutes of Health participating and funded workforce.

Author information

1
Office of Extramural Research, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Abstract

Here, we use recent U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) data to document trends in the NIH-funded workforce over time. Consistent with previous studies that were initiated by NIH, we find that the number of scientists funded on competing R01-equivalent (R01 Eq.) and research project grants (RPGs) increased 2-5% per year between 2009 and 2016. Primary beneficiaries of this growth were experienced investigators (Exp), whereas the share of funding awarded to early-stage investigators (ESIs) and new investigators (NIs) declined. The decline occurred even after NIH instituted the New and Early-Stage Investigator policy in 2009. When we evaluate the investigator pool, we find that women and racial and ethnic minorities represent a higher percentage of NIs and ESIs relative to Exp. Thus, trends of diminishing support for NIs and ESIs may negatively impact the diversity of the current and future biomedical research workforce. We find some recent gains among women and Hispanics as part of the applicant and awardee pool for both R01 Eq. and RPGs, but significant, large gaps persist among nationally underrepresented racial minorities. Our findings suggest a need to prioritize investments and support of ESIs and NIs, groups in which women and racial and ethnic minorities represent a larger proportion of the applicant pool, to enhance diversity in the NIH-funded workforce.-Nikaj, S., Roychowdhury, D., Lund, P. K., Matthews, M., Pearson, K. Examining trends in the diversity of the U.S. National Institutes of Health participating and funded workforce.

KEYWORDS:

career stage; demographics; independent researcher; nationally underrepresented groups; women

PMID:
29920223
DOI:
10.1096/fj.201800639

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