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NIH hopes ‘cluster hiring’ will improve diversity

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Science  14 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6479, pp. 726
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6479.726

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Summary

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is embracing a largely untested method of simultaneously hiring several junior faculty members in its latest attempt to eliminate an embarrassing racial gap in who receives NIH grants. Last month, a top-level advisory group greenlighted a 9-year, $241 million initiative dubbed the Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation program. NIH plans to fund a dozen institutions that pledge to hire 10 or more early-career faculty members, within a span of 1 or 2 years, through a search that does not specify a narrow area of expertise or a particular academic rank. NIH officials believe casting a wider net through cluster hiring will yield more junior faculty from groups traditionally underrepresented in academic medicine—women, black people, Hispanics, Native Americans, and those with disabilities—who will then go on to win an NIH grant.

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