Cornell Program to Increase Faculty Diversity and Promote Research Excellence

Principal Investigator: Cynthia Leifer

Co-PI: Hector Aguilar-Carreno

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Sponsor: NIH-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Grant Number: 5R25AI140481-04
Title: Cornell Program to Increase Faculty Diversity and Promote Research Excellence
Project Amount: $244,301
Project Period: August 2022 to July 2023

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

Diversity increases creativity in problem solving endeavors like biomedical research. Diversity of educators also improves the success of students from underrepresented groups. Thus, increasing the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty will directly increase diversity of the biomedical workforce, and increase the likelihood that current minority undergraduates, and graduate students, enter the US biomedical workforce. Cornell has successfully implemented programs that have increased diversity of undergraduate and graduate students, and that have increased representation of women in the biomedical research faculty. We now propose programs that will increase representation of minority faculty with research programs aligned with the NIAID mission. The overall goals of this program are to: 1) increase the diversity of our faculty, 2) build supportive interactions among participants, 3) provide mentoring and professional development opportunities to early career faculty (ECF) so they reach full potential as scholars, teachers, and contributors to their department, college and the university, and 4) create a culture of acceptance in inclusiveness to increase retention of URM at Cornell. We will reach these goals with four specific aims. Aim 1. Provide a grant-writing course and skills development workshops to support the participant’s academic success. Aim 2. Create a visiting scholar grant to enhance the participant’s NIAID-related scholarship. Aim 3. Develop multiple forms of mentoring, and mentor training, to increase the likelihood of the participant’s long-term success in biomedical research. Aim 4. Increase the diversity of faculty applicant pools and percentage of URM faculty hired. Overall, the programs outlined in this proposal will directly increase diversity of the biomedical research workforce at Cornell University, and will have more broad effects indirectly by creating a group of successful URM faculty who can inspire and train the next generation of increasingly diverse undergraduate and graduate students.