- Important Definitions
- Get the Facts
- Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Groups
- Individuals with Disabilities
- Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds
- Women in the Biomedical Workforce
NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and to apply that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. To achieve this mission, NIH invests in research to improve public health; it also devotes substantial resources to identify, develop, support and maintain its scientific resources, including human capital. NIH’s ability to ensure that it remains a leader in scientific discovery and innovation is dependent upon a pool of highly talented researchers. Promoting diversity in the extramural scientific workforce is critical to the success of the NIH mission.
The Importance of Diversity
“The diverse group almost always outperforms the group of the best by a substantial margin.” — Scott E. Page
A growing body of research focused on the benefits of diversity shows that teams comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences produce better and more innovative products and ideas than a homogenous team. Learn more about the benefits of diversity and get tips on searching for more literature here.
NIH is interested in the benefits of a diverse workforce on scientific discovery, with a particular focus on enhancing the pool of individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research. A strong, creative and diverse research workforce requires preparation through research education, training and career development programs, and involves both educational and research workplace environments.
Diversity benefits educational environments:
- Students from diverse groups offer new perspectives and raise new questions
- Institutional policies fostering diversity enhance the cognitive development, satisfaction, and leadership abilities of all students
- Students who interact with diverse peers in and out of the classroom show increased critical thinking, intellectual engagement and growth in academic skills
Diversity benefits NIH supported research environments because it:
- Fosters scientific innovation and discovery
- Improves the quality of the research
- Enhances global competitiveness
- Increases the likelihood that research outcomes will benefit individuals from underserved or health disparity populations
- Increases participation of underserved or health disparity populations in clinical studies
- Expands public trust
Diversity is important.
Deriving the full benefits of diversity among learners, faculty, and researchers requires an appreciation of differences, understanding of conscious and unconscious assumptions, and effort to create a climate of mutual respect.
Learn more about how a diverse NIH funded workforce supports the NIH mission here.