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May 17, 2023
Launching New UNITE E Initiatives
UNITE Co-Chairs’ Corner
The UNITE E Committee has been hard at work developing a multipronged strategy to advance racial equity and create the most inclusive biomedical research environment possible.
We are pleased to report the launch of several new initiatives, including innovative funding programs and policy changes, to address challenges to promoting and sustaining equity within the NIH-supported biomedical and behavioral research ecosystem.
The Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) (PAR-23-122) program aims to enhance the breadth and geographical location of research and research-related activities supported by NIH. The program will provide R01 grants to institutions to support the health-related research of scientists who significantly contribute to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) and who are not currently supported by NIH research project grant funding. ReWARD grants will provide support for the principal investigator (PI) to continue their DEIA-promoting activities.
As an NIH-wide program, ReWARD supports scientific research in areas related to the missions of the participating institutes and centers. Applicants must submit a diversity statement, a plan for enhancing diverse perspectives, and an institutional letter of support as part of their application.
For more information about ReWARD, contact one of the program officers listed in the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). For questions regarding eligibility or the application process, please contact NIGMS ReWARD. Because not all NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) are participating in this program, it is important to contact a program officer in advance to ensure that your research fits in the mission of one of the ICs that are signed on to the NOFO.
First application due date: June 5, 2023
Earliest start date: April 2024
The Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions (PAR-23-138), or “RLI-S10,” aims to enhance research capacity and educational opportunities at resource-limited institutions by providing funds to purchase modern, scientific instrumentation. Applications may propose the purchase of instruments that support basic, translational, clinical, or biomedically related behavioral science. The instruments may be used for research projects or educational training in the biomedical sciences.
Applications for the RLI-S10 program must list three major users, which include researchers who have a scientific need for the instrument or those who wish to use it for teaching upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses. The program director/principal investigator and major users aren’t required to be receiving support from current NIH awards at the time of submission.
The total awards range from $25,000 to $250,000. Eligibility for the RLI-S10 program is restricted to institutions that receive limited NIH funding, as described in the NOFO.
First application due date: July 3, 2023
Earliest start date: April 2024
The STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG): The Structured Institutional Needs Assessment and Action Plan Development for Resource-Limited Institutions program (PAR-23-144) will provide grants to institutions with limited resources to help them assess their research capacity building needs and develop action plans to meet those needs. Examples of the types of needs that institutions might identify include, but are not limited to, areas such as:
- Equipment or other infrastructure
- Renovations or new facilities
- Enhancement or establishment of sponsored programs administrative capabilities
- Faculty or staff recruitment in strategic areas
- New training or mentoring programs for faculty and staff
- New educational opportunities for students
- Changes to institutional promotions, teaching, or sabbatical policies
Awards will be up to $250,000 in direct costs per year for up to three years. Eligibility for the STRONG program is restricted to resource-limited institutions, as described in the NOFO.
First application due date: September 18, 2023
Earliest start date: July 2024
In collaboration with the Office of the NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, the UNITE E Committee launched a prize competition to recognize effective strategies for enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in research environments: the NIH Institutional Excellence in DEIA in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition. The prize competition aims to recognize transformative cultures, systems, projects, and processes developed by academic institutions to promote inclusive excellence and create environments that foster and value a culture of DEIA. The prize competition will also identify practices for enhancing DEIA within faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies that can be disseminated for adoption by other institutions.
NIH will award up to 10 prizes of $100,000 each through the competition. Up to half of the prizes will be set aside for consideration for limited resourced institutions as outlined in the prize rules.
To participate, registration is required by Tuesday, September 12, at 5:00 p.m., ET. Entries are being accepted through Tuesday, September 26, 2023. Please visit the prize competition website for information about eligibility, participation, and submission requirements.
Several additional UNITE E Committee funding opportunities have been approved by NIGMS’ Advisory Council and are under development. The first NOFO will provide support for institutions to conduct rigorous climate assessments and self-studies and develop action plans based on the results to improve institutional culture in support of DEIA. The second will support research capacity building at resource-limited institutions in areas such as sponsored programs administration, faculty research, and institutional research policies and culture.
Policy Development: Ensuring Compliance with Behavior Codes of Conduct
Consistent with longstanding federal regulations (45 CFR 75.303), institutions receiving NIH support will now be required to have internal controls to assure compliance with terms and conditions of award. These internal controls include behavioral codes of conduct to assure safe and healthful working conditions for their employees and foster work environments conducive to high-quality research. A recipient’s codes of conduct will assure their compliance with terms and conditions of award, such as:
- Providing true, complete, and accurate information on application documents (GPS Section 184.108.40.206)
- Assuring work environments are free of discriminatory harassment and are safe and conducive to high-quality work
- Meeting applicable public policy requirements (GPS Section 4.1)
Along with the explicit addition of allegations of discrimination to the NIH Harassment Reporting Portal, this change in requirements will help NIH ensure that research and training environments at grantee institutions are safe, not hostile, and free from discrimination.
The UNITE E Committee is excited to continue its work to ensure equity and opportunity within the biomedical and behavioral research ecosystem. We will continue to update the community on our progress as new initiatives are implemented.
Authored by the UNITE E Committee led by its Co-Chairs
This page last reviewed on May 18, 2023