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Awarding $1 million to Recognize Inclusive Excellence at Academic Institutions


In keeping with UNITE’s focus of promoting workforce diversity by changing policy, culture, and structure, the NIH Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition (NIH DEIA Prize Competition) will reward and promote inclusive excellence at academic institutions.

Donor Name: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

State: All States

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Competition

Deadline: 09/12/2023

Size of the Grant: $100,000


This prize competition will improve their understanding of effective strategies and practices to create cultures of inclusive excellence and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise. The goals of the prize competition are to:

  • Recognize and reward institutions whose biomedical, social, and behavioral science schools, departments, centers, or divisions have identified gaps with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); and also have designed, implemented, and evaluated interventions to address these gaps to achieve sustained improvement in DEIA within their faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies.
  • Identify effective practices for enhancing DEIA within faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies that are feasible and can be disseminated for adoption by other institutions.

Ideally, institutions would leverage several different strategies to address DEIA and create cultures of inclusive excellence which lead to measurable and sustained enhancements and cultural change within the institutions. NIH expects the prize competition will identify many different approaches that may be scalable to other institutions across the biomedical, social, and behavioral research enterprise.

Types of Projects

  • The NIH DEIA Prize Competition aims to recognize and reward transformative cultures, systems, projects, and processes that institutions of higher education have developed to promote inclusive excellence and create research environments that promote and value a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. These elements are essential to promote equity and eliminate structural barriers to success among students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty in the research enterprise.
  • Another objective of this prize competition is to identify and disseminate effective practices for implementing institutional approaches that lead to transformative and enhanced culture change and advancement of students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral disciplines in institutions of higher education. This prize competition aims to highlight practices that have resulted in measurable change and more inclusive environments, and that can be feasibly adopted by other institutions.
  • These approaches may represent policies, evidence-based programs, tools, and/or activities, or a mixture thereof. As this prize competition recognizes achievement through DEIA interventions that have already been applied such interventions must have been implemented prior to the launch date of this prize competition and have a demonstrated record as an effective model.
  • The interventions should have targeted the full range of student, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty career stages (from junior faculty to senior leadership), and combated potential sources of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic status, disability, and/or sex, gender-based and sexual orientation inequities.

Funding Information

NIH will award $1 million total including up to 10 prizes of $100,000 each. Up to five of these prizes will be set aside for consideration for limited resource institutions (LRIs).

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to win a prize under this prize competition, a participating entity:

  • Must be a U.S.-based, accredited public or private non-profit academic institution, as listed in the U.S. Department of Education database of accredited institutions and programs, that grants associate, baccalaureate, or advanced degrees in biomedical, behavioral, or health sciences. All such institutions are eligible to submit an entry into the prize competition, however, to compete as an LRI please refer to the guidance provided below on LRI eligibility.
  • Shall have registered to participate in the prize competition under the rules promulgated by the National Institutes of Health, as set forth in this announcement.
  • Shall have complied with all the requirements set forth in this announcement.
  • Shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.
  • Shall not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.
  • Shall not be an employee of the Department of Health and Human Services (or any component of HHS) acting in their personal capacity.
  • Who is employed by a federal agency or entity other than HHS (or any component of HHS) should consult with an agency ethics official to determine whether the federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit the acceptance of a prize under this prize competition.
  • Shall not be a judge of the prize competition or any other party involved with the design, production, execution, or distribution of the prize competition or the immediate family of such a party (i.e., spouse, parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild).

Limited Resource Institution (LRI) Eligibility

Up to five of the ten $100,000 awards will be set aside for consideration for limited-resourced institutions (LRIs). For an institution to be eligible to compete as an LRI, all components of the institution must be R15 eligible, as appropriate (i.e., undergraduate-focused components must be AREA-eligible and Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools must be REAP-eligible as defined at NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15). For Institutions with multiple campuses (e.g., main, satellite, etc.) LRI eligibility can be considered for an individual campus only if a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and a unique NIH eRA Institutional Profile File (IPF) number are established for the individual campus. For institutions that use one UEI or NIH IPF number for multiple campuses, LRI eligibility is determined for the campuses together. For a partnership to be eligible to compete as an LRI, all partners must be eligible to compete as LRI.

Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions and Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools

  • The Lead Organization must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate (AREA) or advanced degrees in health professions (REAP) or advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences (REAP).
  • At the time of entry submission, all the non-health professional components of the institution together have not received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in four (4) of the last seven (7) fiscal years. Note that all activity codes are included in this calculation except the following: C06, S10, and all activity codes starting with a G.
  • A signed letter is required from the Provost or similar official with institution-wide responsibility verifying the eligibility of the entry institution at the time of entry submission.

For more information, visit NIH.

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