Advisory Committee to the NIH Director Working Group Findings
The NIH is committed to encouraging diversity in the workforce while funding the best science. As part of the NIH’s continual monitoring efforts, the NIH Director convened a Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director in Spring 2018 to examine the effectiveness of the Common Fund’s High-Risk High-Reward Research Program and the diversity of its applicants and awardees. The Working Group examined the Program and presented its final recommendations in June 2019. The Working Group found that the High-Risk High-Reward Research Program overall is successful in supporting unusually innovative and impactful research. The Working Group also found that the Program’s review processes in general do not adversely affect applications by females and under-represented minorities. However, the Working Group noted that the number of applications to the Program by women and under-represented minorities is low and that diversity of institutions and research topics also is low. To address these concerns, Common Fund staff are substantially increasing outreach efforts and strengthening inclusivity language in the Funding Opportunity Announcements, among other measures. The complete Common Fund response to the Working Recommendations is available here. Through these approaches, the Common Fund intends to better tap into the nation’s full potential for scientific discovery.