National Institutes of Health


NIH Prize for Enhancing Faculty Gender Diversity

NIH Prize for Enhancing Faculty Gender Diversity in Biomedical and Behavioral Science

Challenge Overview

The prize competition is limited to U.S.- based, accredited public or private non-profit academic institutions that grant baccalaureate or advanced degrees in biomedical, behavioral, or health sciences, as listed in the U.S. Department of Education database of accredited institutions and programs. More details can be found in the Challenge Rules


Women continue to be underrepresented at nearly every institution of higher education in the United States in the fields of biomedical, behavioral sciences, and engineering. This is particularly true among mid- to senior-level faculty ranks.

The Prize for Enhancing Faculty Gender Diversity seeks to recognize those institutions whose biomedical and behavioral science departments, centers, or divisions have achieved sustained improvement in gender diversity. Understanding that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to enhancing diversity in academia and that ideas based on evidence are necessary to achieve systemic change, this prize will acknowledge and recognize transformative approaches, systems, projects, programs, and processes that have successfully enhanced and sustained gender diversity within an institution.

We recognize that challenges are faced by all underrepresented groups. Women of color, who are at the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity, face unique obstacles and are especially underrepresented as biomedical faculty members and in the leadership ranks. Although this competition focuses on improving gender diversity broadly for all women, the NIH is also interested in institutional approaches that address the underrepresentation of faculty with intersecting identities.   

Critical to this prize competition is the identification of best practices, the sharing of lessons learned, and the delineation of evidence-based approaches that can be broadly translated to, and replicated by, other institutions vis-à-vis an NIH-supported national toolkit. Submissions to this prize competition may inform the development of the toolkit, which will be designed to assist other institutions or academic groups with issues of inclusion and help to create environments that facilitate achievement. Because this prize competition recognizes achievement through approaches that have already been applied, such interventions must have been implemented prior to the launch date of this prize competition.

In addition to public recognition for their efforts in enhancing gender diversity, this NIH competition will also award a prize of $50,000 to each institution (up to ten institutions) with the best overall systemic approaches. The total prize purse for this competition is $500,000. Additional submissions may be recognized as honorable mentions with non-monetary awards. Winning participants and honorable mentions may be invited to present their approaches at an NIH Office of Research for Women’s Health hosted scientific symposium.

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Guide to Metrics and Data

Guide to Metrics and Data

Entrants should build a convincing case with data and metrics that support the efficacy and impact of your approaches(s).  Your entry must include the minimum metrics listed below.  You are also encouraged to present any additional metrics that support your submission and make your institution’s narrative shine!  Optional metrics below are suggestions but are non-exhaustive; we welcome hearing about the ways in which you have found success.

Regardless of the data you provide, you should adhere to the following best practices:

  • Provide baseline data as well as current, interim, and/or post-intervention data to showcase the impact to women faculty, including women of color and/or other intersecting identities.
  • Ensure that sharing the data does not violate the privacy of your employees and there is no risk of identifying individuals. The NIH may publish the submitted data.
  • Utilize quantitative and qualitative data where available.
  • Include key statistics, visualizations, and data summaries within the narrative of your submission.
  • Attach supporting data sets that are traceable, labeled/ categorized, understandable, and readily map to each data conclusion. Raw data submitted without explanation may not be considered by judges.

Minimum Metrics: You must submit the following minimum metrics for the institution, school, division, or department in order to apply. This will ensure a common data set across all institutions. 

  1. Gender baseline:  Aggregate faculty demographics for the institution, school, or department to which the approaches or interventions apply, at the pre-implementation stage.  Gender data should be provided in proportions and in absolute numbers.
  2. Gender post implementation:  Aggregate faculty demographics for the institution, school, or department to which the approaches or interventions apply, at post-implementation or for the current landscape.  Data should be provided in proportions and in absolute numbers.

Optional Metrics: This list of metrics can be a helpful place to start building out your submission as these metrics are commonly used in gender equity and diversity literature. You are not limited to this list; you can use whatever metrics best build your case and tell your story.  A portfolio of metrics will be useful in bolstering claims, measuring impact and supporting the judges’ evaluations.  Please include pre, current, and/ or post intervention data, if available 

While some of these categories deal with demographic data, you can include other, more creative data elements that highlight the undercurrents for change at your institution.

  • Climate/culture
    • Climate survey data and/or metrics relevant to their implementation and administration
    • Leadership engagement
      • Qualitative data on language, messaging, and diversity policies
      • Proportions of women in decision-making positions
      • Resources and infrastructure allocated for gender diversity programs and efforts
    • Extent that women researchers and scientists are featured in external communications as compared to men
    • Faculty level demographics (Early-, Mid-, Senior-level) of participation in trainings for bias, inclusion, sexual harassment or other
    • Faculty publication rates, by gender
      • authorship position, by gender
  • Recruitment and Hiring
    • Gender demographics of hiring pipeline from recruitment to interviewees to finalists to new hires
    • Metrics relevant to changes in recruiting and interviewing candidates
    • Gender analysis of start-up packages offered at hiring
  • Support, Retention and Promotion
    • Proportion of women progressing from early- to mid- and senior-level faculty positions including decision-making leadership positions
    • Participation in professional career development or leadership training programs, by gender
    • Participation in formal or informal mentoring, coaching, or sponsorship networks or programs, by gender
    • Utilization and effectiveness of family-friendly policies and programs including tenure “stop the clock” policies, by gender
    • Protected time to engage in activities necessary for academic or research promotion and/or tenure, by gender
    • Equitable allocation of space, and/or allocation or accessibility of other resources such as core facilities, networks, and knowledge-based systems