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Diversity in the Neuroscience Workforce

The NINDS is committed to the development of a biomedical research workforce that is representative of the diversity in American society. NINDS seeks to promote diversity in all of its training and research programs and to increase the participation of underrepresented groups.

As the US population becomes increasingly diverse, reflection of that diversity among the biomedical research workforce is vital to our science enterprise and the NIH research mission. There are compelling reasons to promote a diverse workforce and increase participation by underrepresented groups. Advancing diversity through NINDS individual and institutional programs is expected to produce a number of tangible and overlapping benefits:

  • The recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups;
  • An improvement in the quality of the educational training environment;
  • A balanced perspective in setting research priorities;
  • An improved capacity to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols;
  • An improved capacity to address health disparities.
NINDS Diversity Programs

The NINDS supports diverse individuals through general training programs as well as with targeted efforts to increase the number of scientists from diverse population groups who are prepared to pursue careers in neuroscience research. These funding opportunities include: fellowships for graduate students, funds added to an existing grant for mentoring individuals across high school to faculty stage (diversity supplements), institutional research education awards to enhance professional development and career advancement of diverse researchers and career development awards to assist transition to independent research careers.

Program contact:
Michelle Jones-London, PhD
(301) 496-4188

The NINDS promotes diversity in the neuroscience community through programs to develop and enhance research infrastructure and capacity at institutions serving underrepresented groups. Funding opportunities include programs that establish faculty and resources for neuroscience research and education programs. Partnerships are established to enhance the capacity of these institutions to conduct high quality neuroscience research and provide attractive training and career opportunities for a diverse pool of talented individuals.

Program contact:
Courtney Ferrell Aklin, PhD

The NINDS Intramural division supports an annual Summer Internship Program in the Neurological Sciences for academically talented and diverse high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students. The purpose is to provide students with stimulating and rewarding research experiences and to encourage them to pursue advanced education and future careers in basic and clinical neuroscience research. NINDS outreach efforts target students from diverse backgrounds for participation in this program.

Program contact:
Rita Devine, PhD

Diversity Program Management and Coordination

NINDS Diversity programs are organized into two offices that administer individual training and institutional infrastructure programs, respectively. A working group of program directors representing every scientific portfolio at NINDS meets regularly to discuss and address issues related to the institute’s diversity efforts.

Strategic outlook
The NINDS convened an advisory panel to provide recommendations for ways the Institute can maximize the impact of its efforts to increase diversity in the neuroscience workforce. Recommendations in the final report from the Workforce Diversity Strategic Planning Advisory Panel will help NINDS continue its dedication to developing effective programs to promote and maintain diversity in the neuroscience discipline.

Programs to enhance diversity focus on underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and institutions primarily serving underrepresented groups (See the Definitions)

Additional Resources

Last updated September 30, 2014