HHMI to fund expansion of Meyerhoff program to boost minorities in science

Six U.S. universities will get up to $2.5 million each over 5 years from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland, to prepare minority students for careers in academic research.

The new competition, first reported by Science in July and officially announced today, aims to tap into lessons learned by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in running its acclaimed Meyerhoff Scholars Program. In 2014, HHMI gave 5-year grants to the University of North Carolina and Pennsylvania State University to follow in the footsteps of the 30-year-old Meyerhoff program, which it calls “a powerful example of an effective, student-centered approach.” The new Driving Change initiative extends HHMI’ commitment to changing the culture of higher education to improve the diversity of the scientific workforce.

Those interested in applying will be asked to do a self-study of current diversity efforts, says HHMI’s David Asai, and then attend a workshop on the key elements of the Meyerhoff program. The winners, to be announced in spring 2021, will then spend up to 1 year designing their approaches before enrolling their first class. The 5-year grants are nonrenewable and are seen as startup funds to help institutions launch their efforts.