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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, March 1991; 2(6)

NCHGR Involves Minorities in Activities

NIH recognizes the need to increase the number of the underrepresented minority scientists participating in biomedical and behavioral research as a means of addressing a potential research labor shortage in the 21st century. The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) is committed to this goal, in addition to realizing the importance of having all scientists contribute to research progress. Because genomic research is a relatively new scientific discipline and NCHGR a new component of NIH, the center has the opportunity to approach this initiative in creative ways.

The center plans the following efforts to encourage participation of minority scientists and institutions:

  1. Educate the scientific community about the genome program and about opportunities at all career levels.
  2. Increase the number of trained minority researchers through a variety of research training and career development programs.
  3. Provide opportunities for minority students to pursue research projects.

Education

During the past year, NCHGR has informed the broader scientific community of its programmatic interests through announcements in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts and through presentations at annual meetings of professional societies. In exploring ways to reach more minority scientists, NCHGR is doing the following:

  • Working with the Minority Biomedical Research Support and Minority Access to Research Careers programs to include within their annual meetings a minisymposium on the Human Genome Project.
  • Cooperating with Research Center in Minority Institutions investigators to develop a series of genome-related proposals for consideration by NIH [see HGN 2(3), 8 (September 1990)].

Training

Training opportunities will be available to minority scientists at all career levels-from high school students to established scientists-through programs such as the Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program, the National Research Service Award, the Senior Fellowship Award, and the Special Emphasis Research Career Award. The NCHGR minority initiative will stress training for new scientists, opportunities for established scientists to develop additional skills, and more intensive training for those who wish to change fields.

The center has developed a Minority Institution Travel Award Program to give support to students and faculty from minority institutions to attend workshops, conferences, and courses relating to genomic research.

Research Projects

Over the next 3 years, the center plans to identify a core of minority students and established scientists interested in genomic research as a career and to work with them to develop individual action plans. For identified students and scientists, NCHGR will:

  • Support travel to discuss training, proposals, and research plans with genome researchers; to attend courses and workshops; and to make short-term laboratory stays.
  • Arrange seminars on grant writing.
  • Monitor activities on a quarterly basis to ensure that the objectives of the plan are being achieved.
  • Provide project developmental funds to allow investigators to spend time in laboratories learning new techniques, to purchase supplies and equipment, or to obtain release time to pursue new research ideas.

Ultimately, the expectation is that minority investigators will obtain support through the regular NIH grant mechanisms.

NCHGR plans to develop relationships with minority students and investigators that will make them an integral part of the larger community of human genome researchers. These associations will facilitate collaborations and provide timely access to the latest techniques, information, and resources.

The center also encourages its grantees to identify minority students and faculty members and encourage their participation in the Human Genome Project by making laboratory opportunities available and by acting as consultants or mentors on research projects. Individuals who would like to know more about the NCHGR initiative for minority scientists should contact Bettie J. Graham at 301/496-7531.


Reported by Bettie J. Graham, Chief
NCHGR Research Grants Branch

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v2n6).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.