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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 Program

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.

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

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

NINDS-funded Society for Neuroscience Neuroscience Scholars Program one of six Power of A Summit Award winners.

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) named the Society of Neuroscience (SfN) one of the 2014 winners of the Power of A Summit Award for its Neuroscience Scholars Program earlier this year. On October 1st, the Neuroscience Scholars Program was recognized at the 15th Annual Summit Awards Dinner, alongside five other winners, at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. In its fourth year, the Power of A Awards celebrate unparalleled efforts of associations and non-profit groups that enrich the lives of Americans and world, including through training and development programs that support a more competitive and diverse workforce. Sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for over 30 years, the Neuroscience Scholars Program is a champion of inclusion and focuses on enhancing the professional and career progress of underrepresented and diverse graduate and post-doctoral neuroscientists. Join us in congratulating SfN and the Neuroscience Scholars Program on this achievement.

You can also learn more about training and diversity programs sponsored by NINDS on our website.

From Potential to Action: NINDS Trainees Navigate Diverse Paths to Success  

Here we highlight outstanding neuroscientists who have used NINDS diversity programs to become successful researchers in their field. Below, find personal stories of current and former trainees that showcase the benefits of various NINDS programs in the context of scientific careers and get real-world examples of how NINDS programs could help you.

Diversity Program Management and Coordination

NINDS Diversity programs are administered by the Office of Training, Career Development and Workforce Diversity. To foster broader internal input and involvement, The Diversity Working Group (DWG) composed of program directors representing every scientific portfolio at NINDS, meets monthly to discuss issues related to the institute’s diversity efforts, and to implement strategies for enhancing diversity in the neuroscience workforce.

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 Modified June 22, 2016