Box 14: Research Funding Programs
• NSF’s ADVANCE program (Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers) helps to foster the development of a more diverse STEM workforce by funding programs that aim to increase the representation and advancement of women in academia. ADVANCE programs support the efforts of academic institutions and professional societies to improve institutional structures and make institutional climates welcoming and inclusive.
• NSF’s Career-Life Balance Initiative provides funding to support dependent care or personal concerns that require researchers to step away from their research for a short period of time.
• NSF’s Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences is partnering with a program in the Division of Human Resource Development, Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) to prepare minorities for faculty positions. The directorate also offers a supplement to support an additional graduate student.
• NIH grant supplements are available to women researchers during the first year after the birth of a baby, available to fund technician support for NIH-supported research.
• NIH’s Research on Causal Factors and Interventions that Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Science and Engineering, a grant program, includes one grant focused on women of color.
In addition, individual conference participants made the following suggestions for actions by federal agencies:
• Federal funding agencies should consider conducting a robust Title IX compliance review of their grantees to ensure equal representation of women and of minorities, provide that information to university leadership, make a requirement for grant awards that the applicant explain how it will incorporate the principles of Title IX into the program once the grant is received, and consider withdrawing funding if diversity goals are not met.
• If possible within current regulations, federal funding agencies should consider including diversity goals in requests for proposals.
• All federal funding agencies should consider requiring grant reviewers to receive training on unconscious bias.
• Several participants suggested that division directors be held accountable for the diversity in their review panels and urged that if the reviewer pool that presents has low levels of diversity, then division directors actively recruit a more diverse panel.55
• Federal funding agencies could investigate ways to ensure that graduate students receive the requisite mentoring in manuscript preparation and publication.
• Federal funding agencies could evaluate which programs and practices are successful and which have only limited effectiveness. Specifically, several participants asked for randomized pilot programs at different institutions to see what practices improve inclusion under what conditions.
• Federal funding agencies could offer more student support in workforce development and coordinate more closely. A participant from an organization doing workforce
55 This suggestion has different impacts depending on how it is implemented and in which disciplines. For disciplines with very few women of color, for example, the same people may be called on again and again to serve as reviewers, which, while it may have benefits for the review process, may also (because of the time commitment required) hinder the researchers’ own research productivity.