February 22, 2021

NIH Conference Grants: Focus on Diversity

NIH conference grant applicants (R13/U13) must now include plans to enhance diversity during the selection of organizing committees, speakers, other invited participants, such as session chairs and panel discussants, and attendees. Underrepresented groups include individuals from nationally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. See Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031) for additional details.

A recent NIH Guide notice, Notice of Changes in the Review Criteria for Applications Submitted for NIH Support for Scientific Conferences (R13 and U13) (NOT-OD-21-055), announced that reviewers of scientific conferences (R13 and U13) will be asked to evaluate a diversity plan and factor it into the overall impact score. The diversity plan will be evaluated as an additional review criterion and will not receive a separate criterion score. The new parent conference grant funding opportunity announcement, NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13) (PA-21-151), published February 10, reflects the new review criteria.

Principal investigators should carefully follow these instructions, Updated Guidelines for Enhancing Diversity and Creating Safe Environments in Conferences Supported by NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (NOT-OD-21-053), for developing the diversity plan.

Conference grant awardees also will be required to report on the effectiveness of plans to enhance diversity of underrepresented groups in annual Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) and the Final-RPPR.