While data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) have demonstrated a doubling in the number of underrepresented minorities (URM) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields over the past three decades, the numbers of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans in these fields remain woefully below their representation in the US population. In 2018, only ~12% of doctoral degrees in STEM fields were conferred to URM, although they constitute ~30% of the US population. Similarly, over the past 20-years, the number of URM professors in chemistry or biology has hovered around 4%, despite myriad programs aimed at diversifying the STEM workforce. These data highlight the need for additional and novel strategies that target multiple points in the STEM pipeline. As one intervention to impact on the persistence of URM professors within the STEM, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Minority Affairs Committee (MAC) has organized an annual workshop for early-career faculty and postdoctoral fellows that provides intensive mentoring on grant writing and career and professional development. The workshops, conducted yearly since 2013, have been well received among participants and participating mentors, and assessment metrics indicate that participants are two-fold more likely to obtain federal funding than closely matched comparison-group subjects who do not participate in the program.
Strengthened by the experience gained over the past almost 10 years, an enhanced five-year Interactive Mentoring Activities for Grantsmanship Enhancement (IMAGE) Program – called IMAGE 2.0 – will serve a total of 120-150 participants. IMAGE 2.0 also includes, for the first time, activities for mid-career faculty from underrepresented ethnic groups, especially those who have encountered a persistent roadblock in their ability to maintain federal funding. Moreover, the program will conduct a longitudinal analysis of the effect of IMAGE by tracking previous participants through tenure and into their mid-careers. This tracking will inform on the impact of IMAGE in obtaining and sustaining funding and in acquiring tenure. Although the workshop will be the core of IMAGE 2.0, participants will be provided with year-long mentoring through communities of grant-writers. These communities will consist of participants and grant-writing mentors or participants and grant-writing coaches, and will convene virtually on a monthly basis. Grant-writing mentors will be content-competent and will provide periodic feedback on proposal development. Grant-writing coaches will be trained in culturally sensitive career coaching, and will motivate participants, help them develop and maintain a strong science identity, and coach them as they make major career decisions. These efforts will create a sense of belonging and accountability that will encourage participants to continue forward with their proposals through ultimate submission and also facilitate their persistence in their fields.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
|Effective start/end date||6/15/22 → 5/31/27|
- National Science Foundation: $188,029.00