Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Understanding and Addressing the Impact of Structural Racism and Discrimination on Biomedical Career Progression and the Biomedical Research Enterprise
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

March 11, 2021

First Available Due Date:
May 17, 2021
Expiration Date:
October 04, 2022

Related Announcements

PAR-21-269 - Research on Interventions that Promote the Careers of Individuals in the Biomedical Research Enterprise (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PAR-19-295 - Research to Understand and Inform Interventions that Promote the Research Careers of Individuals in the Biomedical Sciences (R01 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PAR-19-367 - Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (R35 - Clinical Trial Optional)

PAR-20-117 - Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators (R35 - Clinical Trial Optional)

Issued by

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)


The purpose of this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) is to inform applicants of topic areas of interest to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to study and/or address the impacts of structural racism and discrimination on biomedical career progression and the biomedical research enterprise.


NIGMS supports basic research that increases the understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. To ensure the vitality and continued productivity of the research enterprise, NIGMS provides leadership in training the next generation of scientists, in enhancing the diversity of the scientific workforce, and in developing research capacity throughout the country. Many NIGMS training and capacity building programs focus on enhancing diversity in the biomedical research workforce through greater opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented populations and underserved regions. Additionally, NIGMS supports research to enhance the ability to take and promote evidence informed actions to enhance diversity and to promote inclusive, safe, and supportive research environments through:

There is increasing appreciation in the broader scientific community and calls to address the impacts of discrimination (including racism), structural discrimination, and structural racism and discrimination (SRD) on an individual's career development and in the broader biomedical research enterprise. For the purpose of this NOSI, these are defined as:

  • Discrimination: A socially structured action that is unfair or unjustified and harms individuals and groups. Discrimination can be attributed to social interactions that occur to protect more powerful and privileged groups or institutions at the detriment of other groups. Racism refers to discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
  • Structural discrimination refers to macro-level conditions (e.g., residential segregation) that limit opportunities, resources, and well-being of less privileged groups (Healthy People 2020,
  • Structural racism and discrimination (SRD): For the purposes of this FOA, SRD refers to structural discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity and/or other statuses, including but not limited to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, social class or socioeconomic status, religion, national origin, immigration status, limited English proficiency, or physical characteristics or health conditions.

NIGMS encourages applications that will examine and/or test interventions to address these factors in the career development of research-oriented individuals in the biomedical sciences, as well as the the systems and processes that organize and sustain the broader biomedical research enterprise. The overall goal of this NOSI is to develop an actionable evidence base to promote inclusion and equity in the biomedical research enterprise; topics of interest include, but are not limited to, studies to understand and/or reduce disparities in:

  • Admissions practices in higher education

  • Curricular design and pedagogical methods

  • Financing of higher education and impact of student debt on persistence and career progression

  • Time to independence and the impacts on persistence across demographic groups

  • Physical spaces in which biomedical research is conducted (e.g., accessibility to scientists with disabilities, inclusive spaces for teaching and learning)

  • Racism, harassment, and discrimination in the research environment and their psychosocial and mental health impacts (e.g., stereotype threat, imposter phenomenon, microaggressions, tokenism, isolation, anxiety, depression)

  • Influences of academic culture on career choice and progression

  • The advancement structure for students and postdoctoral scientists within academic biomedical research environments. (e.g., career progression as impacted by power dynamics, the apprentice model, markers of prestige, mentoring, or networks)

  • Hiring, tenure and promotion processes of faculty

  • Additional and uncompensated or unrewarded professional service by scientists from underrepresented groups (e.g., minority or diversity tax )

  • Institutional resource allocation (e.g., startup packages, physical space, and staff allocation)

  • Peer review (e.g., publications, awards, research grants)

  • Practices of funders (e.g., government agencies, private philanthropies)

  • Support for commercialization of biomedical discoveries by scientists from underrepresented backgrounds (e.g., Federal Small Business Innovation Research, venture capital investments)

NIGMS also has interests in understanding the impacts of organizational change programs to promote diversity (e.g., AAAS SEA Change) on addressing SRD in biomedical careers.

Application and Submission Information

This Notice applies to due dates on or after May 17, 2021 and subsequent due dates through October 4, 2022.

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissuances of these announcements through the expiration date of this Notice.

  • PAR-19-295 - Research to Understand and Inform Interventions that Promote the Research Careers of Individuals in the Biomedical Sciences (R01 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PAR-19-367 - Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (R35 - Clinical Trial Optional)
  • PAR-20-117 - Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators (R35 - Clinical Trial Optional)

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants should include NOT-GM-21-033 (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form.

NIGMS is also interested in receiving applications on this topic to the following joint solicitation from the National Science Foundation and NIGMS (NSF 19-547):

  • The September 9, 2021 and subsequent due dates for the Science of Science Policy Approach to Analyzing and Innovating the Biomedical Research Enterprise (SCISIPBIO) Program Solicitation (NSF 19-547). Please note that applications should be submitted to NSF. There are no additional application instructions for applications submitted to this solicitation.

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.


Please direct all inquiries to the Scientific/Research, Peer Review, and Financial/Grants Management contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements.

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