Beginning in Spring 2021, The BRAIN Initiative® will include a new component in most NOFOs requiring that applications include a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) in the proposed research. When a PEDP is required, as specified in the NOFO, applications submitted without such a plan will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn prior to peer review. The PEDP will be assessed as part of the scientific and technical peer review evaluation and will be considered as part of the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project, as determined by scientific peer review, in making funding decisions consistent with applicable law.
For more information on the PEDP, please see the Frequently Asked Questions and the Key Elements and Examples. You can also email BRAINInitiative_PEDP@nih.gov or the Program official listed in the NOFO.
last updated: May 5th, 2023
To fulfill its charge of revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain through the advancement of groundbreaking neurotechnologies, the NIH BRAIN Initiative upholds that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogeneous teams. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse scientific workforce, including: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the research, advancing the likelihood that underserved populations participate in, and benefit from research, and enhancing public trust. The BRAIN Initiative recognizes that many investigators share these values and endeavor to incorporate diverse perspectives into their projects and change the culture in science.
The BRAIN Initiative is firmly committed to fostering diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility in the research community. BRAIN investigators should strive to compose teams richly diverse in perspectives, backgrounds, and academic disciplines, and provide full opportunity and participation to individuals and groups underrepresented in neuroscience (see BRAIN 2025 Report, BRAIN Initiative 2.0 Report and BRAIN Initiative and Neuroethics Report). Relatedly, the recruitment of diverse research participants and the inclusion of community perspectives ensures that research questions are informed by patient and family perspectives and that the benefits of research have wide applicability. Examples of structures that promote diverse perspectives include but are not limited to:
- Participation of investigators from diverse backgrounds, including groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce (see NOT-OD-20-031), such as underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, those with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women.
- Engagement with different types of institutions and organizations (e.g., research-intensive and research active, undergraduate-focused, minority-serving, community-based).
- Partnerships that may enhance geographic and regional diversity.
- Use of the project infrastructure (i.e., research and structure) to support career-enhancing research opportunities for diverse junior, early-, and mid-career researchers.
- Training and mentoring opportunities encouraging participation of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds.
- Transdisciplinary collaborations that require unique expertise and/or solicit diverse perspectives to address research questions.
- Inclusion of community-based partners to ensure alignment of research goals and activities with community values.
In support of these values, with the Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP), the BRAIN Initiative encourages the research community to broadly consider how diverse perspectives advance the proposed specific aims and are integral to equity and inclusion in the science they perform. Through these collective efforts, we can advance scientific innovation and excellence through the inclusion of all voices.
See these related resources for information about diversity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts at the BRAIN Initiative and around NIH:
- Demographics of BRAIN Investigators from Fiscal Years 2014-2022(pdf, 1126 KB)
- BRAIN Initiative Multicouncil Working Group Meeting Presentation about FY2022 Demographic Data
- BRAIN Initiative Funding Opportunities
- NIH Blueprint & BRAIN Initiative diversity efforts
- Richardson RR et al. Advancing scientific excellence through inclusivity in the NIH BRAIN Initiative. Neuron. 2021
- David KK et al. NIH BRAIN Circuits Programs: An Experiment in Supporting Team Neuroscience. Neuron. 2020
- Ending Structural Racism: The NIH UNITE Initiative
- NIH Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity
- Diversity in NIH Extramural Programs