Request for Information (RFI): Strategies to Strengthen the Research and Training Environment to Enhance Early Stage Faculty Diversity at Diversity Focused Institutions (DFIs)

Notice Number: NOT-HL-14-218

Key Dates
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Response Date: April 28, 2014

Related Announcements
None

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Purpose

The purpose of this RFI is to obtain input on strategies to strengthen the research and training environment at Diversity Focused Institutions (DFIs) for early stage faculty career development. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has supported career development at institutions that promote diversity (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HL-13-018.html) and seeks to better understand the institutional needs to develop a more robust cadre of early stage faculty that address cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases, and sleep disorders.  

DFIs are institutions that train substantial numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds (http://csma.aas.org/spectrum_files/spectrum_Jun02.pdf), and provide health-related services and education to individuals from diverse backgrounds and other health disparity populations not well represented in NIH-funded research and training programs. Opportunities for mentored research career development for faculty at DFIs can increase competitiveness for research funding opportunities, enhance the educational experience of students attending these institutions, and improve outreach to underserved communities in NHLBI-focused areas.

The NHLBI is interested in career development of individuals who will contribute to a diverse workforce and whose basic, clinical, and translation research interests are grounded in the advanced methods and experimental approaches needed to solve problems related to cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases, and sleep disorders. To help meet this need, the NHLBI is interested in attracting and advancing the career development trajectory of early stage faculty and improving their success and sustainability in a research career by supporting relevant efforts at DFIs.

Background

To develop, maintain, and renew our scientific talent pool, it is imperative that we create a climate of opportunity to attract and retain the most talented individuals who can capitalize on innovation and advance scientific discovery.  Enhancing the presence of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds is of particular interest. The National Science Foundation has identified the following populations as underrepresented in science: underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women at the faculty and above level (see report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). There is a pressing need for enhancing the training of early stage faculty from underrepresented backgrounds at DFIs in research areas of interest to the NHLBI. Facilitating the training of a diverse pool of candidates to conduct innovative biomedical and behavioral research is critically important in promoting health in underserved populations.

Information Requested

Please provide ideas and innovative approaches to address enhancing careers of early stage faculty at DFIs. Examples that are deemed relevant may include, but are not limited to:

  • Institutional career developmental experiences that will lead to independence in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and translation research.
  • Institutional research infrastructure components that will help meet and sustain early stage research faculty research careers.
  • Key factors (and how they may be integrated) that would be central to promote a comprehensive training program at DFIs that includes: a cadre of career development awardees to enhance scientific interactions; established investigators for scientific mentorship; and institutional environment to promote increased competitiveness of early stage faculty for NIH funding.
  • Scholarly activities and associated metrics (other than research funding and publications) that would enhance the research career of early stage faculty.
  • Obstacles that may make it difficult for early stage faculty to advance their research career, and provide suggestions for how these obstacles might be overcome.  

Confidentiality

Responses to this RFI are voluntary.  Any personal identifiers (e.g., names, addresses, email addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled.  Only the de-identified comments will be used.  Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response.  The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the United States Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information. Responses will be compiled and shared internally and with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council, with one or more subcommittees of the Council, and with scientific working groups convened by the NHLBI, as appropriate. In all cases where responses are shared, the names of the respondents will be withheld.

Responses

All interested extramural investigators, administrators and other interested parties are invited to respond.  All responses must be submitted to MailboxDiversityRFI@nih.gov by April 28, 2014. Responders will receive an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of a response, but will not receive individualized feedback on any submissions. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this RFI or from the Government’s use of such information.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Helena O. Mishoe, Ph.D., MPH
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Telephone: 301-451-5081
Email: MailboxDiversityRFI@nih.gov

 

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