Objective: The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a strategic partnership whose goals include remedying documented disparities by race and ethnicity in the awarding of National Institutes of Health research grants. Our objectives were to offer a profile of early-career investigators who applied to NRMN’s Grantsmanship Coaching Programs (GCP) and test for differences in the research productivity, professional obligations, research resources, and motivations of applicants from underrepresented groups (URGs) compared with applicants from well-represented groups (WRGs). We also evaluated how employment at a minority serving institution (MSI) influenced access to research resources and professional obligations.
Participants: 880 investigators who submitted online applications to join an NRMN GCP between August 1, 2015 and February 1, 2018.
Methods: We used two-sample tests of proportions and logistic regression to explore differences in applicants’ characteristics and local research environment by group (URG vs WRG) and institution type (MSI vs Other).
Results: URG and WRG applicants did not differ in grant application submission history. However, URG applicants had published fewer articles than WRG peers (9.8 vs 15.3, P<.001) and fewer articles as first/last author (4.4 vs 6.9, P<.001). URG applicants reported less access to core facilities to conduct research (74% vs 81%, P<.05). Investigators at MSIs reported less access to collaborators (P<.01) and departmental colleagues with federal funding (P<.001) and spent less time on conducting research (P<.001). URGs were more motivated to seek professional development support to expand their peer networks (P<.05) and advance their careers (P<.001).
Conclusions: Our findings identified several points of intervention to help applicants from URGs to improve their future chances of obtaining competitive funding.
- Minority Faculty Groups
- Professional Development
- Research Grants
- Research Resources
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural