Funding Opportunity: Research on Causal Factors and Interventions that Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Science and Engineering (RFA-GM-09-012)
In July 2008, on behalf of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) published a Request for Applications (RFA) to support research on causal factors and interventions that promote and support the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering. In October 2009, the NIH announced that it will fund 14 grants estimated to total $16.8 million over four years with support from 11 Institutes and Centers (ICs) as well as 4 Offices within the Office of the Director, with 7 ICs administering the grants:
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)*
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)*
National Institute on Aging (NIA)*
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)*
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)*
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)*
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)*
NIH Office of the Director (OD)
Office of AIDS Research (OAR)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)
*Indicates an IC which is administering grants.
The aims of the program are to support research on 1) causal factors explaining the current patterns observed in the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering; and 2) the efficacy of programs designed to eliminate sex/gender disparities and promote the careers of women in these fields.
Areas of interest include, but are not limited to,
- individual characteristics, including family and economic circumstances,
- institutional/departmental environment,
- organizational structure,
- disciplinary culture or practices, and
- features of the broader social and cultural context.
Broadly written, the funding opportunity was intended to support research not only into women’s careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, but in basic, clinical and interdisciplinary research settings as well as academic, governmental, or corporate settings. Through rigorous research efforts, the NIH and others can begin to change this reality by establishing the evidence base to better understand the causal factors affecting the career paths of men and women and identify new principles to inform the development and/or adaptation of intervention strategies.
The new grants will examine many influences on women's career choices such as family and economic factors, institutional environments and broader social and cultural issues. Topics include the role mentoring and funding support play throughout women’s academic careers to the impact of family-friendly policies in retaining women in the scientific workforce. The career paths of underrepresented and financially disadvantaged women will also be examined.
The grant recipients are:
- Stephanie B. Abbuhl and Jeane Ann Grisso, University of Pennsylvania, “Women & Academic Medicine: A Randomized Multi-level Trial”
- Mary Carnes, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Advancement of Women in STEMM: A Multi-level Research and Action Project”
- Thomas Diprete, Columbia University, “Educational Pathways to Science and Other Careers for Academically Talented Women”
- Karen Freund, Tufts University School of Medicine, and Phyllis Carr, Boston University Medical Campus, “Longitudinal Follow-up to the National Faculty Survey"
- Donna K. Ginther, University of Kansas, and Shulamit Kahn, Boston University, “Economic Explanations for Gender Differences in Biomedical Careers”
- Deborah L. Helitzer, University of New Mexico, "Achieving a Critical Mass of Women Biomedical Faculty: Impact of 3 US Programs”
- Reshma Jagsi, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, “Examining How Gender Differences in Outcomes Develop Among Physician Researchers”
- Yael M. Levitte, Cornell University, Jennifer L. Glass, University of Texas at Austin, and Sharon L. Sassler, Cornell University, “Entry and Retention of Women in the Sciences: A Cohort Comparison”
- Richard McGee, Northwestern University, “Pivotal Career Decisions Guiding Potential Women Science Faculty”
- Donna Nelson, University of Oklahoma, “Building an Evidence Base for Developing Effective Intervention Strategies for Women”
- Joan Reede and Emorcia V. Hill, Harvard Medical School, “Factors that Promote and Support Careers of Women of Color in Academic Medicine”
- Virginia Valian, Hunter College, Elizabeth Travis, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Michelle R. Hebl, Rice University, and Randi C. Martin, Rice University, “Gatekeepers and Gender Schemas”
- Amparo Villablanca and Lydia P. Howell, University of California, Davis, “Women's Careers in the Medical Sciences and Family Friendly Policies”
- Wendy Williams, Cornell University, “Assessing and Reducing Gender Bias in STEM Recruitment, Mentorship and Evaluation”
- Press Release announcing the RFA
- Kuehn BM. Women in research. JAMA. 2008; 300 (8): 891
- Smaglik P. The gender imbalance. Nature. 2008; 454 (7204): 664
- Press Release announcing the awards
In November 2012, the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Office of Research on Women’s Health convened a workshop for the 14 research teams who received grants through this RFA. During this two-day workshop, grantees presented their research findings and brainstormed on next steps to support women scientists and clinicians. The discussions covered such themes as framing gender equity as a scientific problem, transferring knowledge of disparities into useful interventions, the importance of cultural change, and how work-life balance policies contribute to a healthy climate. A workshop report (PDF Document, 30 pages), containing summaries of each presentation and outlining key discussion points, is now available.
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