You are here
June 28, 2023
UNITE Continues to Drive Systemic Change
UNITE Co-Chairs’ Corner
UNITE continues its commitment to fulfill NIH’s pledge to identify and address structural racism where it may exist within the agency and the institutions it supports. Recent progress by UNITE includes advancing funding opportunities and publishing the results of outreach to the broad biomedical and behavioral research community. These activities are just a few steps on a long journey that UNITE has embarked upon to realize a more inclusive biomedical and behavioral research enterprise.
During his director’s report at the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting on June 8, NIH Acting Director Dr. Larry Tabak highlighted several recent programs and initiatives that have come out of UNITE.
UNITE advocated for the establishment of the Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) initiative, a 10-year, $400 million Common Fund effort to increase funding for health disparities research. Once awarded, the Community-led Health Equity Structural Interventions (CHESIs), Health Equity Research Hubs (HUBs), and ComPASS Coordination Center (CCC) will collectively develop, share, and evaluate community-led health interventions that aim to leverage partnerships across multiple sectors to reduce health disparities. The goal is that the interventions will yield substantive differences and provide a health equity research model at the community level to guide future NIH efforts and those of other federal agencies.
New Funding Programs
Several funding programs have been launched to promote and sustain equity within NIH-supported biomedical and behavioral research. The new opportunities include:
- NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) (PAR-23-137): An R25 program that supports K-12 STEM education with projects that generate resources to increase career opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in biomedical research. This program was formerly supported solely by NIGMS, but as of FY 22 was broadened with support from 17 NIH ICs and Offices. A second round of solicitations for SEPA awards has been announced with participation again from numerous NIH ICs and Offices.
- Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) (PAR-23-122): This R01 program focuses on the health-related research of scientists who significantly contribute to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) and who do not have current NIH research project grant funding.
- Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions (PAR-23-138): An S10 program that enhances research capacity and educational opportunities at resource-limited institutions by providing funds to purchase modern scientific instrumentation.
- STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG) (PAR-23-144): This program provides grants to eligible resource-limited institutions to help them assess research capacity needs and develop action plans to meet those needs.
DEIA Prize Competition
NIH has launched the NIH Institutional Excellence in DEIA in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition to recognize effective strategies by academic institutions to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in research environments. The prize competition will recognize and reward degree-granting biomedical and behavioral science institutions that have identified gaps in DEIA and designed, implemented, and evaluated interventions to address them. The prize competition also aims to identify effective practices for enhancing DEIA within faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies that can be feasibly disseminated for adoption by other institutions. It is administered by the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) and cosponsored by UNITE and 24 institutes and centers across the NIH.
Visit the Prize Competition website to review the eligibility and participation rules and access the recording of the May 17 Q&A webinar. All who are interested and eligible must register by Tuesday, September 12. A pre-submission Q&A Webinar for registrants will be held on Thursday, September 14 at 3 p.m. ET. Completed entries must be submitted by September 26, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET. Email questions@NIHdeiaprize.org with questions. Winners will be announced in December.
Please share these funding opportunities and other UNITE news with your networks. Your engagement sustains our momentum toward UNITE’s long-term goals.
Latest UNITE Reports
We encourage you to read the UNITE External Listening Sessions Summary Report, which captures input received at 14 listening sessions. We also suggest reviewing the 2022 UNITE Request for Information Report, which summarizes responses to the Request for Information (RFI) released shortly after the unveiling of UNITE in March 2021. The RFI invited feedback on approaches NIH can take to advance racial equity and expand research to eliminate or lessen health disparities and inequities.
Both reports contain valuable community input on the issues and challenges facing diverse talent. NIH will use these insights to inform UNITE’s plans and priorities.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the RFI and/or participated in the listening sessions. We hope that the advances summarized here demonstrate our commitment to addressing the issues raised. And we look forward to a robust response to the funding opportunities and the prize competition.
Mark your calendars for the December 14-15 Advisory Committee to the Director meeting, where there will be a further update on UNITE progress.
Check back in September 2023 for the next Co-Chairs’ Corner message!
Authored by the UNITE Co-Chairs
This page last reviewed on June 28, 2023