National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants a few really new and different ideas on how to achieve more ethnic diversity in the biomedical sciences, and is prepared to pay up to $10 million for those ideas. Our colleague Jeff Mervis on the Science Insider blog yesterday reported on a new NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award aimed to get those breakthroughs.
The announcement for this competition notes that greater diversity in the biomedical research workforce is not just the right thing to do, it also benefits the research enterprise. A more diverse workforce helps achieve greater minority participation in clinical trials, says NIH, and improves patient satisfaction.
The announcement also makes no bones about its desire for ideas they haven’t heard before:
The Director’s Pathfinder Award is designed to support extremely creative individual scientists who propose innovative — and possibly transforming — approaches to this major challenge to biomedical research. The proposed approaches should have the potential to produce an unusually high impact in an area of research on workforce diversity.
NIH plans up to five awards of $2 million each, for projects lasting no more than three years. For entries to be considered, they must be new projects, not extensions of ongoing research. Plus awardees need to show they will devote no less than 30% of their research efforts to these projects.
Proposals are due on 4 May 2010. Letters of intent — not required, but encouraged — are due on 5 April.