Promoting diversity in Alzheimer’s data science and drug discovery research – National Institute on Aging

Yuan LUO,
Program Director,
Division of Neuroscience (DN).

Author’s Note: I am grateful for the assistance of Jamie Lahvic, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the NIA Office of Strategic Extramural Programs, for her collaboration on this post.

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias present continued challenges in treatment, prevention, early detection, and disease management and care. To help overcome these hurdles, we need diverse leaders skilled in data-driven team science and other precision medicine approaches.

NIA is deeply committed to increasing diversity among the scientific workforce we support. Analysis of the biomedical research workforce focusing on Alzheimer’s and related dementias has recently spotlighted two skills that are in especially high demand: data science and drug discovery. There is an even greater shortage of investigators with these specialized skills who come from underrepresented groups, and a dearth of resources and support to help these individuals achieve independent research careers.

Targeted support across career stages

To address these gaps, NIA recently released three targeted funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) designed to promote a diverse Alzheimer’s and related dementias research workforce that has these in-demand skillsets of data science and drug discovery. Aimed at supporting investigators at three different key career stages, these FOAs include:

Mentors needed to help spread the word

While NIA leadership has already begun to spread the word about these and other FOAs for supporting a more diverse research workforce, we need your help! If you are a mentor or advisor to early-career or emerging investigators from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, scientists with disabilities, or who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, please encourage them to apply by the deadlines noted above.

Graduate students and postdocs who are not members of an underrepresented population, or whose work falls outside of the research focus described here, may apply to the parent general funding announcements: PA-21-051, PA-21-048, or PA-20-188.

Apply today, and we’re here to help

These are just some of many award programs among NIA’s growing portfolio of training and career development opportunities. We are at your service to assist with any questions: Email [email protected] and be sure to include a one-page overview of your specific aims if you would like feedback on your proposed research. We wish you all good luck with your applications and in your future efforts!