ASM Receives NIH Grant to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research

Aug. 6, 2023

Washington, D.C. – The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has received a $1.3 million cooperative agreement grant for a 5-year period to enhance diversity within the academic biomedical research workforce. As part of the National Institutes of Health Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) initiative, the new program will support promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds as they transition into independent faculty careers.

The training program unites postdocs and professors with goals of diversity, equity and inclusion in academia. MOSAIC has two components: the individually focused career transition award for postdoctoral researchers to enhance diversity through the well-established K99/R00 award system, and the research education cooperative agreement for scientific societies that provide courses for skills development and mentoring activities. MOSAIC will nurture the development of innovative researchers who will be competitive applicants for biomedical research funding and who will contribute to diversity in the workforce.

“At ASM we reaffirm our commitment to diversity in STEM. It is essential that we continue to invest in diversity-building efforts through initiatives like the MOSAIC program; although we are seeing progress, we still have more work ahead of us,” said Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO, ASM. 

In 2018, an external DEI Task Force was established by the ASM CEO to advise ASM on effectively elevating diversity and inclusion in the microbial sciences, in efforts to make the microbial sciences one of the most welcoming and diverse fields in the sciences. The result is the establishment of the Inclusive Diversity with Equity, Access and Accountability (IDEAA) Committee of the Board that guides the Society's strategic direction on DEI.

The MOSAIC program complements ASM’s portfolio of initiatives that aim to promote IDEAA throughout the workforce pipeline. Starting with undergraduate education, ASM has long been committed to championing diversity in the sciences, and particularly in biomedical research, by managing the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) since 2001. In partnership with organizations such as NIH, FASEB, HHMI and Burroughs Wellcome Fund, ABRCMS now draws nearly 6,000 attendees annually and supports undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and faculty from diverse, underrepresented and historically excluded backgrounds.  

The MOSAIC program will further allow ASM to focus on the crucial transition from trainees to independent faculties, an essential step to achieve ASM’s goal for diversity in the microbial sciences. No DEI work would be effective if departments of microbiology at research institutions do not provide the utmost welcoming environment to all individuals from diverse backgrounds. ASM is doing similar work with a National Science Foundation funded project, Microbiology Leaders Evolving and Accountable to Progress (MicroBio-LEAP).

“At a time when several sectors are seeing reductions in DEI personnel, we want to double down on DEI as one of our top priorities to ensure that the field continues to thrive and grow in diversity and inclusiveness. Only by relying on a diverse workforce in an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, we can ensure that the microbial sciences will be effective in contributing to solve the most complex and daunting problems for humanity over which microbes hold great power,” said Irene Hulede, ASM Director of Education and Principal Investigator for the ASM MOSAIC grant.   

The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. 

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

Author: ASM Communications

ASM Communications
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