Request for Information (RFI): Inviting comments and suggestions on the development of a prize competition for Gender Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce

Notice Number: NOT-OD-19-141

Key Dates
Release Date: September 11, 2019
Response Date: October 31, 2019

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)


This Notice is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) inviting comments and guidance to be considered during the development of a prize competition for enhancing faculty gender equity and diversity.


Though parity is being reached between men and women at the graduate level in the biomedical sciences and in medical schools, women remain underrepresented at the faculty level in science and medicine, particularly in the mid to senior-level ranks [1, 2]. The National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health is seeking feedback on a proposed prize competition that aims to recognize institutions that have demonstrated commitment to systemically addressing faculty diversity and equity issues within the biomedical and behavioral science departments. The goal of this competition is to acknowledge transformative structures, systems, projects and processes that have enhanced faculty gender equity and diversity within an institution. Some of the approaches to enhancing diversity in academia may include eliminating or reducing barriers to career advancement, employing mentoring structures, adopting work-life integration and career flexibility programs, enhancing pathways to leadership, recruitment, or others.

An additional objective of this proposed prize competition is to seek best practices for disseminating institutional approaches that have led to an environment conducive to the retention and advancement of women faculty in biomedical and biobehavioral disciplines in academic institutions. Through an anticipated contest, the potential prize seeks to highlight practices that have created a more inclusive environment for faculty.

ORWH is considering conducting this prize competition using the statutory authority granted to federal agencies by the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, 15 U.S.C. 3719, as amended.

Information Requested

This RFI seeks broad input from stakeholders throughout the scientific research community and the general public regarding the following topics:

Structure of the prize competition

  • Ways to recognize institutions for reducing and or eliminating institutional barriers to faculty gender equity and diversity
  • If this prize is judged on retrospective achievements in meeting gender diversity and equity goals, suggestions on when past interventions had to occur
    • Examples include (not all inclusive) 5 years ago, 8 years ago , 10 years ago, other, etc.
  • Whether the prize should be aimed at the institutional level or departmental level
  • Other suggestions for how a competition could be structured to best facilitate fair and open competition and to best allow for entrants to be successful


  • Types of media outlets that would be helpful to share information about the prize competition
    • Examples of media include (not all inclusive) webinars, website, twitter chat, and reddit post, etc.
  • Range of metrics that would be appropriate for different sizes and types of institutions or discipline/science focus

Judging criteria

  • Suggestions on criteria that judges might use to identify a winner
  • Ways to measure the impact of increased faculty gender equity and diversity on the department, institution, research, etc.


  • Time needed to develop a prize submission and for judges to identify a winner

Dissemination of winning submissions

  • Ways to best disseminate approaches that have increased faculty diversity

Reasons and Potential Barriers in Applying

  • Major factors or other reasons that may influence an institution’s decision to compete in the prize competition described in this information request.
  • Major barriers that may impede applying for the prize competition. Comments may reflect considerations about what potential solutions, if any, may be available to overcome such barriers.

Responses to this request must be submitted electronically to no later than 11:59PM (ET) on October 31, 2019.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. The Government will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

We look forward to your input and hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.


1. NSF. National Science Foundation - Doctorate recipients from U.S. universities: 2017. 2017; Available from:

2. Pololi, L. H., Civian, J. T., Brennan, R. T., Dottolo, A. L., & Krupat, E. (2013). Experiencing the culture of academic medicine: gender matters, a national study. Journal of general internal medicine, 28(2), 201 207. doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2207-1


Please direct all inquiries to:

Teraya Donaldson, Ph.D.
Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)
Telephone: 301-402-0361