Challenges in Pediatric Neuroscience Research Series: Promoting Diversity in the Scientific Workplace

August 19, 2020

Contact: Adam Hartman
Contact Email:

Webinar series

Please join the NINDS for a webinar today at 3:00 PM EDT for our third installment of our series titled “Current Challenges in Pediatric Clinical Neuroscience”. Today’s webinar will discuss promoting diversity in the scientific workplace. Panelists will include:

  • Lauren Ullrich, PhD, Program Director(NINDS)
  • Marguerite Matthews, PhD, Health Program Specialist (NINDS)
  • Erika Augustine, M.D, Associate Professor (University of Rochester Medical Center)

Please contact Adam Hartman with any questions prior to the webinar.

REGISTER OR JOIN WEBINAR (Please do not use your computer audio to listen to the webinar, please log in using the link and dial 1-650-479-3208 Access Code 126 705 0943.)

All questions will be submitted online, but you are welcome to listen by dialing the number and access code.

This event is the third in a series and provides an overview of issues that clinical researchers face today. Future webinars will feature guest speakers who will cover specific challenges and how NINDS programs strategically address them. The first webinar, held earlier this year, focused on how to get involved in clinical research at any stage of professional development. The second installment discussed Funding Opportunities with Nonprofit Organizations and Patient Advocacy Groups.

Webinars in this series have explored the following topics:




While we tried to answer every question that was asked during the webinar, we were unable to get to each one due to time constraints. Below are questions that were asked but were not answered during the webinar. If you need any clarification regarding any of the answers, please reach out to us.

Q. Have heard of mentored PI roles in where you can have a senior PI sponsor your grant application and your role will also be as PI but mentored by the senior PI. Is this possible? Is it recommended? How does it work?

A. Multi-PI grants are possible. It is important to keep in mind your Early Stage Investigator/New Investigator status. If your multi-PI grant is with an established investigator (an investigator who has previously received a R01 or R01-equivalent grant), then your ESI/NI status will not be applied.

Q. Are there grant mechanisms other than K01’s that provide funding opportunities for under-represented minorities?

A. Yes, please visit our Training & Career Development Diversity Award website.

Q. How will study sections consider and weight the limitations of research, training and mentorship in this new uncertain world?

A. Guidance on this for reviewers is subject to change as circumstances change, please visit: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding

Q. What advice would you give a recent college graduate who is interested in neuroscience research as a career but has limited research experience? Are there any summer internship for student who graduated in Biomedical Sciences and has interest in neuroscience but limited research experience?

A. If you are currently located near a university or research institute, consider reaching out to investigators to inquire about opportunities to gain experience or work with their research team. There may also be opportunities to work for a period of time as a research associate or clinical coordinator as you explore research as a career and decide about future graduate studies. If eligible, consider a diversity supplement or participating in a summer research program at a university or the NIH.

Q. Does FIRST supports hiring diversity and support, or could it be used for already newly hired diversity faculty to support their scholarly development. Example: we already hired a diversity faculty in July 2020. Could the First Program support this already hired faculty? Also, can this program support her renewal appointment?

A. Details will be forthcoming soon in the FOA, for now all information is available in the Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program: FIRST Coordination and Evaluation Center (U54 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Q. Is there a track available for non clinician MDs?

A. If this means research-only, then yes, they can apply to any of the research awards. I am not aware of programs to support educator-track MDs.

Q. Are DACA recipients eligible for diversity supplements?

A. You must be a citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for a diversity supplement.

Q. I have a minority first year medical student. He is willing to join the lab and work on the ischemic spinal cord program with the medical school, what will be the best opportunity of funding to fund his work?

A. There may opportunities for support for student research directly through the medical school, there are also a number of external funding opportunities for medical students during summers. The AAMC Clinical and Research Opportunities Database for medical students may provide more ideas. It can be filtered by scholarships and grants.  And yes, consider a diversity supplement.