The National Institutes of Health produced a study last year proclaiming disparity between the number of black researchers who were awarded grants from the institute and the number of white and Hispanic applicants who won grants. Government responded, allocating $500 million in funding to help more black biomedical researchers get NIH grants.
The NIH said it recognized through its study that black applicants were 10 percent less likely to receive its grants than whites or Hispanics, saying “the quality of educational and mentoring experiences may differ for applicants who self-identify as black or African-American.” Furthermore, the NIH said that there were an alarmingly low number of non-white research applicants in general.
To make sure that the agency hands out more grants to minorities, NIH officials have implemented a sort of in-house affirmative action plan. They created a 10-year plan that will dedicate $50 million annually to support hundreds of minority students with scholarships, research experiences and even graduate loan repayment. The agency has also promised to make diversity a core consideration of NIH governance” and ensure fairness in the peer review system that erases “unconscious bias related to disparities in research awards.”
In 2009, the same agency commissioned a study, costing taxpayers nearly half a million dollars, to better understand why men don’t like to wear condoms during sexual intercourse.