PEDP - NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science Grant (RM1 Clinical Trial Optional)

Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) 


Overview

The NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science (RM1 Clinical Trial Optional) will include a new component requiring that applications include a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) in the proposed research, utilizing the framework put forth by The Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative.  Applications submitted without such a plan will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn prior to peer review. Evaluation of the applicant’s PEDP will be made during the peer review stages as part of the scorable criteria and during programmatic reviews, and will be used to inform funding decisions. 

For more information on the PEDP, please see the Frequently Asked Questions and the Key Elements and Examples below. You can also email NINDSTeamScience@nih.gov for any questions.   

NINDS upholds that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogeneous teams. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse scientific workforce, including: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the research, advancing the likelihood that underserved populations participate in, and benefit from research, and enhancing public trust. NINDS recognizes that many investigators share these values and endeavor to incorporate diverse perspectives into their projects and change the culture in science.  

NINDS is firmly committed to fostering diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility in the research community. NINDS investigators should strive to compose teams richly diverse in perspectives, backgrounds, and academic disciplines, and provide full opportunity and participation to individuals and groups underrepresented in neuroscience. Relatedly, the recruitment of diverse research participants and the inclusion of community perspectives ensures that research questions are informed by patient and family perspectives and that the benefits of research have wide applicability. Examples of structures that promote diverse perspectives include but are not limited to: 

  • Participation of investigators from diverse backgrounds, including groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce (see NOT-OD-20-031), such as underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, those with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. 

  • Engagement with different types of institutions and organizations (e.g., research-intensive and research active, undergraduate-focused, minority-serving, community-based). 

  • Partnerships that may enhance geographic and regional diversity. 

  • Use of the project infrastructure (i.e., research and structure) to support career-enhancing research opportunities for diverse junior, early-, and mid-career researchers. 

  • Training and mentoring opportunities encouraging participation of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds. 

  • Transdisciplinary collaborations that require unique expertise and/or solicit diverse perspectives to address research questions. 

  • Inclusion of community-based partners to ensure alignment of research goals and activities with community values. 

In support of these values, with the Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP), NINDS encourages the research community to broadly consider how diverse perspectives advance the proposed specific aims and are integral to equity and inclusion in the science they perform. Through these collective efforts, we can bring about the culture change necessary to address the inequities and systemic biases in biomedical research, and advance scientific innovation and excellence through the inclusion of all voices. 


PEDP Key Elements and Examples

A “Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives” (PEDP) is a summary of strategies to advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project through inclusivity. Broadly, diverse perspectives refer to the people who do the research, the places where research is done, as well as the people who participate in the research as part of the study population. The PEDP is submitted as a 1-page “Other Attachment” to be included in grant applications submitted in response to specified Funding Opportunity Announcements. Within the Research Strategy, applicants should align their description with the PEDP strategies and milestones, and are encouraged to refer to information included in the PEDP attachment. In the 1-page PEDP summary, applicants are expected to show how enhancing diverse perspectives is supported throughout the application and how this strengthens the scientific and technical merit of the project (in terms of significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and environment), as appropriate. 

It is anticipated that every PEDP will be unique and will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the required expertise, the environment, and the performance site(s). NINDS encourages innovative and sustainable approaches that support scientific excellence by fostering inclusive environments and promoting culture change. 

Key Elements to be included in a PEDP for a proposed research program: 

  • Summary of strategies (and their rationales) that advance the scientific and technical merit through expanded inclusivity 

  • Timeline and milestones for the PEDP 

  • Approaches to assessing progress towards meeting the PEDP defined goals 

Examples of potential strategies that advance inclusivity in alignment with research goals can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Inclusion of personnel (MPIs, PIs, Co-Is, Consultants)… 

  • …from groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce (e.g. women, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds). 

  • …located within, or who have done training within, multiple geographic locations, especially those regions underrepresented in NINDS funding. 

  • …representing different career stages. 

  • …from different types of institutions and organizations (e.g. research intensive and research-active, undergraduate-focused, minority-serving, community-based, and industry). 

  • …from varying scientific fields to contribute to transdisciplinary aspects of the proposed project (e. g. neuroscientists, computational biologists, engineering, mathematics, physicists, computer and data sciences, and bioethics). 

  • Training and mentoring opportunities to encourage participation of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds (e.g. existing institution-based programs such as undergraduate research experience programs, or new individual opportunities for trainees, fellows, etc.). 

  • Activities to enhance recruitment of research participants from diverse groups, including those from under-represented backgrounds. 

  • Plans to use the project infrastructure (i.e., research and administrative structure) to support career-enhancing research opportunities for junior, early-, and mid-career researchers. 

  • Inclusion of community advisory boards or other relevant steering committees to inform research project design and/or dissemination of results. 

  • Publication plans that describe equitable processes to determine inclusive authorship and authorship order and ensure proper attribution. Opportunities promote visibility of junior faculty, post-docs, trainees, etc. by serving as first authors and/or presenting at National/International scientific meetings. 

  • Outreach to and recruitment of diverse trainees and investigators at regional and national scientific meetings (e.g. SACNAS, AISES, ABRCMS, AIChE, IEEE, ACM, etc.). 

  • Partnerships with advocacy groups or professional societies to help recruit study participants for clinical research and/or to aid with dissemination of research results. 

  • Outreach activities to various public stakeholders (e.g. educators, patients, policy makers, etc.) to improve engagement and understanding of NINDS research. 


FAQS 

I. General FAQs 

What is a PEDP? 
A PEDP or “Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives” is a summary of strategies to advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project through inclusivity. The PEDP is submitted as a 1-page “Other Attachment” to be included in grant applications submitted in response to specified Funding Opportunity Announcements. Please see the PEDP Overview and the Key Elements and Examples above. 

What does "diverse perspectives" mean for a research project? 
Broadly, diverse perspectives refer to the people WHO* do the research and the places WHERE** research is done, as well as WHO PARTICIPATES *** in the research as part of the study population.  

*WHO: The inclusion and empowerment of investigators and trainees from a variety of backgrounds, including those historically underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce (see NOT-OD-20-031), and investigators from different scientific disciplines, at varying career stages, and with varied skills, experience, and expertise. 

**WHERE: Participation of researchers from all relevant sectors, including diverse organizations and institutions (e.g., research intensive and research active, undergraduate, minority-serving, community-based etc.). Historically, largely well-resourced academic and research institutions have competed successfully for NINDS funding. The goal is to broaden NINDS ’s reach by supporting projects, partnerships, and collaborations at institutions and organizations that, to date, have not been part of NINDS-funded work. The expectation is that by broadening its support (e.g. geographically and/or to different institutions and organizations), NINDS will simultaneously advance the goals of the individual projects as well as the mission of NINDS. 

***WHO PARTICIPATES: To realize the broadest benefits to human health impacting all segments of the population, NINDS is committed to promoting equity in research participation. To that end, maximum effort is encouraged to engage and recruit diverse participants for human studies. To make findings broadly relevant, it is expected that studies that use human tissues or cells will collect and use specimens derived from varied ancestries. Any projects involving human participants or samples derived from humans should be collected in an ethically sound manner and consented appropriately. These guidelines are a part of the overarching neuroethical considerations included in the NIH NINDS

Why is the PEDP included in the NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science RM1 grant applications? 
It is widely accepted that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogenous teams. Accordingly, the NIH’s commitment to diversity is well documented (NOT-OD-20-031). The inclusion of a PEDP represents explicit alignment of research activities, peer review, and research funding considerations with NINDS’ commitment to advance the scientific and technical merit of NINDS research projects through expanded inclusivity. 

Has an emphasis on diverse perspectives previously been included in NINDS Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)? 
Since its inception, NINDS has supported cutting-edge science through a variety of funding mechanisms. Several NINDS training and career development opportunities have included a focus on workforce diversity. The PEDP extends this emphasis to research project funding mechanisms and promotes the inclusion of diverse perspectives more broadly.   

What should be included in a PEDP? 
Within the 1-page PEDP summary, applicant(s) are expected to show how enhancing diverse perspectives is supported throughout the application and how this strengthens the scientific and technical merit of the project (in terms of significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and environment), as appropriate. The PEDP will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the expertise required, the environment, and the performance site(s). The PEDP should include a timeline and milestones for relevant components that will be evaluated as part of the review. Within the research strategy, applicant(s) are expected to align their description with the strategies.

What guidance on the PEDP is available for applicants? 
For guidance and other materials please see the PEDP Overview and the Key Elements and Examples above. Questions not covered in these FAQs can be directed to NINDSTeamScience@nih.gov. Additional guidance and FAQs will be updated as needed. 

II. Applications 

Where in applications should the PEDP information be addressed? 
The PEDP information should be included in the "Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives" under “Other attachments” (see Section IV of FOA, 1-page limit) and where appropriate, within the research strategy section. The 1-page PEDP attachment should: 

  • include a summary of strategies of expanded inclusivity to advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project.   

  • outline how enhancing diverse perspectives is viewed and supported throughout the application. 

  • incorporate strategies relevant to each of the review criteria (significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and environment), as appropriate. 

  • include a timeline and milestones for relevant components that will be considered as part of the review. 

Within the Research Strategy, applicant(s) should align their description with the PEDP strategies and milestones, and are encouraged to refer to information included in the PEDP attachment. The content of the PEDP will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the required expertise, the environment, and the performance site(s). Please see the PEDP Key Elements and Examples above. 

Are there examples of the types of strategies that might be part of a PEDP? 
NINDS anticipates that every PEDP will be unique and will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the required expertise, the environment, and the performance site(s). Examples of strategies that advance inclusivity in research and may be part of a PEDP can include, but are not limited to the list provided here:

  • Inclusion of personnel (MPIs, PIs, Co-Is, Consultants)… 

  • …from groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce (e.g. women, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds). 

  • …located within, or who have done training within, multiple geographic locations, especially those regions underrepresented in BRAIN Initiative funding

  • …representing different career stages. 

  • …from different types of institutions and organizations (e.g. research intensive and research-active, undergraduate-focused, minority-serving, community-based, and industry). 

  • …from varying scientific fields to contribute to transdisciplinary aspects of the proposed project (e. g. neuroscientists, computational biologists, engineering, mathematics, physicists, computer and data sciences, and bioethics). 

  • Training and mentoring opportunities to encourage participation of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds (e.g. existing institution-based programs such as undergraduate research experience programs, or new individual opportunities for trainees, fellows, etc.). 

  • Activities to enhance recruitment of research participants from diverse groups, including those from under-represented backgrounds. 

  • Plans to use the project infrastructure (i.e., research and administrative structure) to support career-enhancing research opportunities for junior, early-, and mid-career researchers. 

  • Inclusion of community advisory boards or other relevant steering committees to inform research project design and/or dissemination of results. 

  • Publication plans that describe equitable processes to determine inclusive authorship and authorship order and ensure proper attribution. Opportunities promote visibility of junior faculty, post-docs, trainees, etc. by serving as first authors and/or presenting at National/International scientific meetings. 

  • Outreach to and recruitment of diverse trainees and investigators at regional and national scientific meetings (e.g. SACNAS, AISES, ABRCMS, AIChE, IEEE, ACM, etc.). 

  • Partnerships with advocacy groups or professional societies to help recruit study participants for clinical research and/or to aid with dissemination of research results. 

  • Outreach activities to various public stakeholders (e.g. educators, patients, policy makers, etc.) to improve engagement and understanding of BRAIN Initiative research. 

Is there a PEDP template or example available? 
No. A PEDP template or example is not available because the PEDP will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, required expertise, the environment, and performance site(s). Please see the PEDP Key Elements and Examples above. 

Does a grant application need to include every strategy listed in the PEDP Key Elements and Examples? 
No. The details of the PEDP will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the required expertise, the environment, and the performance site(s). Applicants are asked to explain how the proposed research project will benefit from the diverse perspectives described in the application. They are expected to provide a rationale for the inclusion of different PEDP strategies and how these strategies strengthen the research project. 

Are there specific type(s) of diversity that are preferred? 
No. NINDS encourages innovative approaches that support scientific excellence by fostering inclusivity and promoting culture change. NINDS has always placed strong emphasis on the inclusion of investigators representing diverse disciplines of science. The PEDP seeks to broaden this approach beyond scientific disciplines to include career stage, investigator background, partnerships, collaborations, etc. that advance the goals of the project (see the PEDP Key Elements and Examples above). 

Can a PEDP include perspectives related to gender identity and/or sexual orientation? 
NINDS strives to promote inclusivity broadly. Related components might include NINDS-relevant questions and approaches to advance rigorous research on the health of sexual and gender diverse populations, foster partnerships and collaborations with experts and communities, and develop and support a highly skilled and diverse workforce. 

What makes a strong PEDP? 
Reviewers will evaluate the PEDP based on the criteria specified in Section V of the FOA. Briefly, the PEDP should reflect careful consideration of how to maximize diverse perspectives within the research project and outline the benefits. It should also provide rationale for the selected types of PEDP strategies and include a timeline and milestones for relevant PEDP components. 

Are foreign collaborations considered to enhance diverse perspectives? 
While an emphasis on U.S.-based geographic diversity is encouraged, foreign collaborations may be considered to enhance geographic and regional diversity, if justified as described in III.5. Consistent with NIH policy, foreign components will be subject to additional review requirements (see NIH Grants Policy Statement section 16). 

If costs increase as a result of the PEDP, can funds be requested to support the PEDP? 
Applicants may include a request for allowable costs associated with PEDP implementation (see NIH Grants Policy Statement section 7). 

III. Review 

How will reviewers be instructed to evaluate the PEDP? 
PEDP considerations will be included in each of the scored review criteria (Significance, Innovation, Investigators, Approach, and Environment). Reviewers are asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses associated with each of the review criteria and weigh them appropriately. Thus, the PEDP evaluation will contribute to the criterion scores and overall impact score of each application. It is expected that a PEDP judged by reviewers as insufficient can negatively impact criterion score(s) and overall impact score. 

What will happen to an application with its PEDP judged by reviewers as insufficient? 
A PEDP judged by reviewers as insufficient may result in poorer criterion scores and overall impact score. The reviewers are instructed to evaluate all components of the application as reflected in Section V of the FOA. As such, peer reviewers will evaluate the PEDP as part of each of the scored review criteria, and in the overall impact score. 

Is training on the PEDP available for reviewers? 
Reviewers will be directed to the guidance materials available to applicants. In addition, review panels will be provided with opportunities to learn more about the PEDP ahead of any scheduled review meetings. 

IV. Administrative Issues 

A. Pre-Award 
Is a PEDP “Other Attachment” required? 

Yes. Applications that fail to include the required PEDP “Other Attachment” will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn prior to review. 
  
Will the PEDP be considered in programmatic funding decisions? 
Yes. As a whole, the following will be considered in making programmatic funding decisions: 

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review. 

  • Availability of funds. 

  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities, including the PEDP. 

B. Post-Award 
What post-award oversight of the PEDP will be expected? 

As part of their required progress report, investigators will be asked for updates on the implementation of the PEDP in their annual NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). Investigators should describe progress in the PEDP based on the goals, timelines, and milestones outlined in the application and/or in response to the reviewers’ comments as well as on any additional elements recommended by the study section and/or program staff. If sufficient information is not provided in the progress report, program officials may request the additional information needed to assess satisfactory progress. 

What administrative actions can be taken if a research project does not meet its PEDP objectives? 
In cases where an investigator encounters challenges in meeting their PEDP objectives, Program Officers (POs) can request an interim progress report with clear explanation of the difficulties, as well as the actions taken to overcome them. In response, POs may suggest alternative approaches, request an interim progress report, or issue a no-cost extension, to delay the noncompeting renewal until the difficulties are resolved. Broadly speaking, failure to meet expectations agreed upon by the Recipient and the NIH/IC may result in Enforcement Actions as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement section 8.5.2

 

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Form Approved OMB# 0925-0648 Exp. Date 06/2024