This Diversity MATTERS in Neuroscience proposal provides educational activities to enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce by:
The activities proposed in this application address both parts (1) and (2) of the NINDS Neuroscience Development for Advancing the Careers of a Diverse Research Workforce R25 program to 'support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce by (1) increasing the pool of current and future Ph.D.-level research scientists from diverse backgrounds that are underrepresented in biomedical neuroscience research; and (2) facilitating the career advancement/transition of the participants to the next step of their neuroscience careers.'
Neuroscience faculty at the University of Georgia are committed to the advancement of neuroscience research and graduate training that is innovative and inclusive. We recognize that rapid advances in technology and scientific knowledge coupled with the increasingly global workplace environment call for a neuroscience workforce that is not only technically advanced in the discipline, but is also culturally and experientially diverse, capable of reaching beyond the traditional laboratory, working across disciplines and within diverse communities to advance the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of recognized and emerging diseases of the brain. Providing a collaborative, supportive and inclusive environment for all of our students is a core value and we are dedicated to broadening participation of students from diverse backgrounds that are under-represented in neuroscience research training. To address the overarching goals of this FOA, we propose to leverage a number of resources currently available at UGA along with newly proposed strategies to develop a network of synergistic activities aimed at broadening participation of under-represented students in our neuroscience graduate training program and preparing a diverse neuroscience workforce for the 21st century. Multiple strategies will be used to target the mentorship, recruitment, transition, retention and scholarship of undergraduate and graduate neuroscience students from diverse backgrounds.
Two Specific Aims are proposed: Aim 1) Strengthen the diversity of our recruitment pool by offering summer undergraduate research experiences in neuroscience (NSURE) with a focus on students who are underrepresented in neuroscience from UGA, minority-serving institutions in the southeast US, and undergraduates recruited nationally through minority- serving organizations. Aim 2) Enhance the training environment for Neuroscience students from diverse backgrounds who are underrepresented in biomedical neuroscience research to improve retention and self- agency using the following strategies: Strengthen mentorship through mentor training programs for neuroscience faculty, graduate students, and NSURE participants that focus on mentoring preferences, cross- cultural understanding and co-cultural communication; Enhance student success through stage-specific transition support; Build agency by providing personal and professional development training opportunities for doctoral students, and community building activities.