Evaluating the Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity on T32 Applications

Evaluation of the recruitment plan to enhance diversity should focus on groups considered underrepresented in biomedical research. The Notice of NIH Interest in Diversity encourages institutions to diversify their trainee and faculty populations to enhance participation from underrepresented groups, including individuals from racial and ethnic groups shown by the National Science foundation to be underrepresented in biomedical research, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands; and individuals with disabilities, defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Recruitment of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds is applicable to programs focused on high school and undergraduate candidates and, therefore, need not be addressed in a predoctoral T32 training grant application.

New applications must include a description of plans to enhance recruitment of a diverse pool of trainees, and applicants may include data in support of past accomplishments in this type of recruitment.

Renewal applications must include a detailed account of experiences in recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups during the previous funding period, as well as plans for the proposed funding period. For renewal applications, past achievements may be considered in assigning priority score.

Efforts and Activities

  • Give a brief separate description for students/fellows from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and students with disabilities covering:
    1. past, ongoing, and/or proposed recruitment activities undertaken specifically by this training grant program to enhance diversity of the trainee pool; and
    2. past, ongoing, and/or proposed institutional recruitment activities that contribute to a diverse pool of candidates for this training program.
  • Describe the specific efforts to be undertaken by the training program and how these might coordinate with trainee recruitment efforts of the medical school(s), graduate school(s), and/or the institution(s). Centralized institutional efforts alone will not satisfy the requirement to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups. Training grant program faculty are expected to be actively involved in recruitment efforts.
  • If achievements have been limited during the previous award period, it is especially important to indicate whether the previous experience has been incorporated into the formulation of the plan for the next award period and if promising new recruitment or retention activities are planned.

Achievements

  • Give the number of students from the relevant underrepresented groups who were appointed to the training grant during the past funding period.
  • NIGMS is aware of the challenges of identifying trainees with disabilities, but expects each program to be active in efforts to recruit students from this underrepresented group.
  • If the training program goes beyond the students appointed to the training grant, give the number of underrepresented students who participated in the parent program but were otherwise supported via other mechanisms.
  • The admissions and completion data for individuals from underrepresented groups (numbers of applicants, offers, matriculations, and graduations/program completions) should be specified and compared to the corresponding numbers for all students/fellows.
  • For new applications, information from pre-existing and relevant departmental training programs is helpful.

Conclusion

  • Rate the Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity as "Acceptable" or "Unacceptable" and justify the rating (for the overall plan to be Acceptable, an application must include acceptable plans for individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and for individuals with disabilities). Written comments may also indicate the relative merit of the recruitment plans and efforts: if the plan for one or both categories is commendable or only marginally acceptable, that can be noted.
  • For renewal applications, achievements may be considered in assigning priority score.