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Key Policy Recommendations

The NPA recommends:

•   Federal agencies, institutions of higher education, and professional societies/associations should continue/expand any efforts or engage without delay in a long-term effort to collect data on women of color in the scientific academic workforce. The dearth of reliable data on this population and the issues they face makes it extremely difficult to make informed recommendations regarding the advancement of women of color in the workforce.

•   Federally-funded programs such as the NSF ADVANCE program and the NSF MPRF program should continue to be funded. Such programs should emphasize the need to identify challenges and barriers and promote practices and policies that facilitate the advancement of women of color.

•   Funding agencies and institutions should review their policies and, if needed, take steps to ensure that they are family-friendly to postdoc women, including postdoc women of color. They should assertively disseminate information regarding these policies to postdocs.

o   As part of the NPA ADVANCE project, the NPA has developed an online Clearinghouse of Promising Practices ( as well as maternity and paternity guides for postdocs (

•   Funding agencies should offer/continue to offer administrative supplements for support during family leave, such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) primary care-giver technical assistant supplements, and assertively market these opportunities.

•   Funding agencies and institutions should hold supervisors/principal investigators accountable for facilitating effective mentoring for postdocs, including recognizing the challenges faced by postdoc women of color in this regard, and provide the supervisors with the resources needed for effective mentoring to take place. Please note: The NPA recognizes that not every supervisor makes an effective mentor nor has time to mentor those who report to him/her, but certainly the supervisor should be obligated to facilitate such mentoring.


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