Building Diverse Teams

The NIH Common Fund's Bridge2AI program is particularly interested in data generation projects that have the potential to characterize the diversity of society and health problems and for Bridge2AI teams to include members from groups (e.g. researchers, research cohorts and institutions) that are underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research (see NIH’s Interest in Diversity, information about IDeA states, and the NIH UNITE initiative). Individuals with training in different disciplines, and from varied backgrounds, tend to focus on different project details and constraints and contribute unique experiential knowledge. This diversity increases the likelihood that all critical ethical considerations will be addressed, and provides a holistic approach to identifying solutions, while combating against biases, such that the artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) system will be more effective with the best efficiencies for all population groups, including those who are underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research. Therefore, it is critical that the Bridge2AI program proactively recruits and develops individuals from diverse social, cultural, economic, academic, industrial and technical/non-technical backgrounds and communities. This requirement of diverse team science across the Bridge2AI program will lead to revolutionizing the production, dissemination, acquisition, and impact of scientific knowledge through AI/ML.

Bridge2AI Team Building

The Bridge2AI program plans to support teams for Integration, Dissemination, and Evaluation (BRIDGE) Center cores (NOT-RM-21-021) and data generation projects (OTA-21-008). Bridge2AI program investigators should strive to compose teams richly diverse in perspectives, backgrounds, and academic and technical disciplines, and provide full opportunity and participation to individuals and groups underrepresented in neuroscience, biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences research (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity). Examples of structures that promote diverse perspectives include but are not limited to:

  • Participation of investigators from diverse backgrounds, including groups traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce (see NOT-OD-20-031), such as underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, those with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women.
  • Engagement with different types of institutions and organizations (e.g. research intensive and research-active, undergraduate-focused, minority-serving, community-based).
  • Partnerships that may enhance geographic and regional diversity.
  • Use of the project infrastructure (i.e., research and structure) to support career-enhancing research opportunities for diverse junior, early-, and mid-career researchers.
  • Training and mentoring opportunities encouraging participation of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds.
  • Transdisciplinary collaborations that require unique expertise and/or solicit diverse perspectives to address research questions.
  • Inclusion of community-based partners to ensure alignment of research goals and activities with community values.  

To facilitate the formation of diverse teams that will work together to create responsive applications to Bridge2AI Funding Opportunities, the Bridge2AI program will hold a series of Team Building Activities in June 2021. For additional details on these activities please visit the Bridge2AI Scientific Meetings page.

Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives

The Bridge2AI research opportunity, Data Generation Projects for the NIH Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Program (OT2) (OTA-21-008), requires a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP). Applications submitted without a PEDP will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn prior to peer review. A PEDP is a summary of strategies to advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project through inclusivity. Broadly, diverse perspectives refer to the people who do the research, the places where research is done, as well as the people who participate in the research as part of the study population. The PEDP is submitted as a 2-page “Other Attachment” in applications for the Bridge2AI program. Within the Research Strategy, applicants should align their description with the PEDP strategies and milestones, and are encouraged to refer to information included in the PEDP attachment. In the 2-page PEDP summary, applicants are expected to show how enhancing diverse perspectives is supported throughout the application and how this strengthens the scientific and technical merit of the project (in terms of significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and environment), as appropriate.

It is anticipated that every PEDP will be unique and will depend on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the required expertise, the environment, and the performance site(s). The Bridge2AI Program encourages innovative and sustainable approaches that support scientific excellence by fostering inclusive environments and promoting culture change.  

Key Elements to be included in a PEDP for a proposed research program:

  • Summary of strategies (and their rationales) that advance the scientific and technical merit through expanded inclusivity
  • Timeline and milestones for the PEDP
  • Approaches to assessing progress towards meeting the PEDP defined goals  

Examples of potential strategies that advance inclusivity in alignment with research goals can include, but are not limited to:

  • Inclusion of personnel (MPIs, PIs, Co-Is, Consultants)…
    • …from groups traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce (e.g. women, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds).
    • …located within, or who have done training within, multiple geographic locations.
    • …representing different career stages.
    • …from different types of institutions and organizations (e.g. research intensive and research-active, undergraduate-focused, minority-serving, community-based, and industry).
    • …from varying scientific fields to contribute to transdisciplinary aspects of the proposed project (e. g. clinicians, economists, computational biologists, engineering, mathematics, physicists, team science, computer and data sciences, and bioethics).
  • Training and mentoring opportunities to encourage participation of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds (e.g. existing institution-based programs such as undergraduate research experience programs, or new individual opportunities for trainees, fellows, etc.).
  • Activities to enhance recruitment of research participants from diverse groups, including those from under-represented backgrounds.
  • Plans to use the project infrastructure (i.e., research and administrative structure) to support career-enhancing research opportunities for junior, early-, and mid-career researchers.
  • Inclusion of community advisory boards or other relevant steering committees to inform research project design and/or dissemination of results.
  • Publication plans that describe equitable processes to determine inclusive authorship and authorship order and ensure proper attribution. Opportunities promote visibility of junior faculty, post-docs, trainees, etc. by serving as first authors and/or presenting at National/International scientific meetings.
  • Outreach to and recruitment of diverse trainees and investigators at regional and national scientific meetings (e.g. SACNAS, AISES, ABRCMS, AIChE, IEEE, ACM, etc.).
  • Partnerships with advocacy groups or professional societies to help recruit study participants for clinical research and/or to aid with dissemination of research results.
  • Outreach activities to various public stakeholders (e.g. educators, patients, policy makers, etc.) to improve engagement and understanding of Bridge2AI program research. 

Please see the Program FAQs for additional information.

This page last reviewed on May 28, 2021