Measuring Diversity of the National Institutes of Health–Funded Workforce

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To measure diversity within the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded workforce. The authors use a relevant labor market perspective to more directly understand what the NIH can influence in terms of enhancing diversity through NIH policies.


Using the relevant labor market (defined as persons with advanced degrees working as biomedical scientists in the United States) as the conceptual framework, and informed by accepted economic principles, the authors used the American Community Survey and NIH administrative data to calculate representation ratios of the NIH-funded biomedical workforce from 2008 to 2012 by race, ethnicity, sex, and citizenship status, and compared this against the pool of characteristic individuals in the potential labor market.


In general, the U.S. population during this time period was an inaccurate comparison group for measuring diversity of the NIH-funded scientific workforce. Measuring accurately, we found the representation of women and traditionally underrepresented groups in NIH-supported postdoc fellowships and traineeships and mentored career development programs was greater than their representation in the relevant labor market. The same analysis found these demographic groups are less represented in the NIH-funded independent investigator pool.


Although these findings provided a picture of the current NIH-funded workforce and a foundation for understanding the federal role in developing, maintaining, and renewing diverse scientific human resources, further study is needed to identify whether junior- and early-stage investigators who are part of more diverse cohorts will naturally transition into independent NIH-funded investigators, or whether they will leave the workforce before achieving independent researcher status.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles

Join Ovid Insights!

Benefits of Ovid Insights Include:

  • Consolidated email digests of the latest research in your favorite topics
  • A personalized dashboard of your topics all on one page 
  • Tools to bookmark and share articles of interest
  • Ability to customize and save your own searches

Register with Ovid Insights »