Technology Women's Empowerment

NSF launches long-awaited diversity initiative

STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have had a problem with diversity since long before the term “STEM” was en vogue. Even with women and people of color studying in STEM fields, white men still make up the majority of the workforce at 51 percent–far greater than their share of the general population.

It’s refreshing, then, to see the National Science Foundation encouraging diversity through a program calling for projects designed to increase the participation of women, racial minorities, disabled individual and other underserved groups in STEM fields. Greater diversity will not only help combat inequality like the wage gap, it will benefit companies. It will ensure the inclusion of additional, missing perspectives and will ensure that the best people will fill the positions, no matter who they are.

Preliminary proposals are due April 15. Click through to read more. – The National Science Foundation (NSF) wants to make the U.S. scientific community more inclusive. And the more ideas, the better.

NSF announced its intention to hand out small grants later this year to dozens of institutions to test novel ways of broadening participation in science and engineering. Winners of the 2-year, $300,000 pilot grants will be eligible to compete next year for up to five, $12.5 million awards over 5 years. NSF is calling the program INCLUDES. (The acronym stands for a real jaw-breaker: inclusion across the nation of communities of learners of underrepresented discoverers in engineering and science.)

The underrepresentation of women and minorities in the scientific workforce is a problem that has persisted for decades despite many well-meaning federal initiatives. NSF Director France Cordova has spoken repeatedly about her intention of moving the needle on the issue since taking office in March 2014. And this initiative, totaling roughly $75 million, could well be the signature program of her 6-year term.

Read more here.

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