Exploring Professional Development for New Investigators Underrepresented in the Federally Funded Biomedical Research Workforce

Japera Hemming, Kristin Eide, Eileen Harwood, Ratib Ali, Zhu Zhu, Jason Cutler, Dedra S. Buchwald, Jeffrey Engler, Harlan P. Jones, Spero M. Manson, Richard McGee, Kolawole S. Okuyemi, Elizabeth Ofili, Nancy Schwartz, Clifford Steer, Anne Marie Weber-Main, Jamboor K. Vishwanatha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalEthnicity & disease
Volume29
Issue numberSuppl 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Objective: The National Research Mentor ing 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.

Funding Information:
Author note: National Research Mentoring Network Coaching Group Directors: Dedra S. Buchwald, MD, Initiative for Research and Education to Advance Community Health, Washington State University, Pullman, WA; Jeffrey Engler, PhD, Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, DC; Harlan P. Jones PhD, Center for Diversity and International Programs, University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, Fort Worth, TX; Spero M. Manson PhD, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO;

Funding Information:
Our study includes data from 880 investigators who voluntarily submitted online applications to join one of the four NRMN GCPs21 between August 1, 2015 and Febru ary 1, 2018. Applications requested details about applicants’ position, training and research background, research productivity (articles pub- lished in peer-reviewed journals, grant applications submitted to and funded by federal and non-federal funding agencies), research resources available at their institutions (eg, software, relevant scientific journal subscriptions, core facilities, statistical support, grants management support, scientific colleagues or collaborators), and their expectations and obligations regarding time to participate in a GCP. Four open-ended questions inquired about the applicant’s motivation to participate in the GCP, current mentoring support, preparation for an independent research career, and their respective grant application. Our research was approved by a single institutional review board (IRB) and data sharing agreement coordinated by Boston College and all procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the IRB.

Funding Information:
We assessed applicants’ research productivity by number of: 1) articles published in peer-reviewed journals; 2) publications as first/last author; and 3) F31, F32, K99/R00, K, R03, R21 or R01 grant applications as principal investigator (PI) and previously submitted to NIH as these mechanisms represent the typical funding path toward research independence.

Funding Information:
Funding: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) under Award Number U54 GM119023. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to extend a special thank you to Ruth Gebremedhin, Thaddeus Unold, and Meldra Hall for their contributions to collecting and coding data. Informed Consent: Written informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Ethnicity and Disease, Inc.. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • Minority Faculty Groups
  • Professional Development
  • Research Grants
  • Research Resources

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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