Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

Gilliam 2018

Diversity is an essential component of science excellence. A diverse group of problem solvers is better positioned to find innovative solutions; the more difficult the problem, the greater the benefit of diversity in finding the solution. An organization committed to science excellence encourages and enables a diverse community to seek creative strategies to solve difficult scientific problems.

Diversity can be measured in many different ways. Every person has an identity that contributes to the diversity of a group, and there is no hierarchy of importance of these different personal identities. However, there are some dimensions of personal identity for which U.S. science is far from parity, and it is important to focus on these dimensions to maximize the benefits that accrue from diversity. In U.S. academic science, those dimensions include race and ethnicity, gender, and disability status. Working towards parity in each of these dimensions requires specific strategies and ways to measure progress.

Strategies that address barriers to participation should not only increase the numbers of persons in science who belong to underrepresented groups, but also work to ensure that they are empowered and expected to succeed in science and assume leadership roles in the scientific community. Only then can the full value of diversity be realized. The responsibility for creating an inclusive environment rests on the current leaders of the scientific community, including the principal investigators, the faculty, and the advisers of the trainees.

As an organization committed to scientific excellence, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute supports individuals and institutions that aspire to improve their capacity for inclusion and that work to develop scientists from all backgrounds, especially those who belong to groups currently underrepresented in science. A selection of our current programs are listed in the right rail.