The program aims to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in biology at scale through culture change by leveraging the leadership, broad reach, and unique ability of professional societies. Professional societies are uniquely positioned to help facilitate culture change in their disciplines through: publishing journals, fostering scientific discussion and debate, broad membership (including membership from academia, government agencies, and private businesses), hosting large scientific meetings that can serve as networking and professional development opportunities for people at many professional levels, and electing leaders that greatly influence views and norms within a discipline.
As we recognize that disciplines and societies may be at different points in assessing and addressing their culture, the program has three tracks — Evaluation, Design and Plan, and Implementation. The Evaluation Track is for projects focused on assessment and research of the values, norms, priorities, and practices associated with the culture of the discipline or sub-discipline. The Design Track is for projects to develop an evidence-based plan to address broad-scale culture change within a discipline or sub-discipline. The Implementation Track is for projects to implement evidence-based cultural change strategies that leverage the influence of biological professional societies.
Two webinars (March 21, 2022 from 2-3 EST and April 22, 2022 from 3-4 EST) are being planned to provide the community the opportunity to learn more about the program and ask questions of cognizant program officers. Please monitor the BIO-LEAPS program page for registration links.
NSF has announced the “Taking Action: COVID-19 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Challenge,” an ideas challenge for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs). The challenge is designed to highlight the need for institutional solutions to mitigate the long-term, negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Because the issues impacting STEM undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty vary, the challenge is divided into four categories:
STEM undergraduates at community and technical colleges;
STEM undergraduates at four-year institutions;
STEM graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; and
Each category will have first-, second-, and third-place cash winners and may include up to 10 honorable mention designees.
Winners will be announced in March 2022 and will be invited to present their ideas with the community at a future NSF event. All prize-winning and honorable mention submissions will be added to a repository and made available to the public.
All eligible IHEs are encouraged and invited to submit descriptions of institutional actions that have been implemented, or will be implemented, such as new and revised policies, procedures, and practices to ensure continued progress toward more diverse, equitable, and inclusive STEM higher education programs and institutions. Submissions from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and community and technical colleges are particularly encouraged in all challenge categories for which they are eligible. IHEs do not need to have a grant from NSF to submit to this challenge.
You can find more information and apply for this challenge on Challenge.gov.
The last year-and-a-half has shown NSF’s Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) the need for ongoing and new efforts to broaden participation and enhance diversity in the biological sciences given the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals in historically under-represented groups, those at historically under-served institutions, and on those institutions themselves. Of course, these issues did not arise during the pandemic. They are historic and COVID-19 has only heightened them.
To achieve greater diversity across the biological workforce, BIO has released two new solicitations, highlighted below.
Details of these funding opportunities will be featured in the upcoming VOH on November 18, at 1pm ET. Register for that session here.
Awards will provide the means for new faculty (i.e., those at the Assistant Professor rank (or equivalent) with service at that rank for no more than 3 years by the proposal submission date) — primarily at MSIs, PUIs, and other universities and colleges that are not among the nation’s most research-intensive institutions — to initiate and build independent research programs by enhancing their research capacity. These projects might also include biology-focused research collaborations among faculty within the same institution, across peer-, or research-intensive institutions, or partnerships with industry or other non-academic partners that advance the candidate’s research program.
Full proposal windows: January 3-31, 2022 and June 1-30, 2022
Awards will establish networks to support full-time research, mentoring, and training for recent college graduates who have had few or no research or training opportunities during college in research fields typically supported by the Directorate of Biological Sciences.
Full proposal deadline: January 20, 2022
To help the community become acquainted with these new efforts focused on broadening participation, Program Directors from across the Directorate for Biological Sciences will hold a Virtual Office Hour on November 18 at 1pm ET.