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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