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This prize competition will improve our understanding of effective strategies and practices to create cultures of inclusive excellence and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise. Goals of the prize competition are to:

  • Recognize and reward institutions whose biomedical, social, and behavioral science schools, departments, centers, or divisions have identified gaps with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); and also have designed, implemented, and evaluated interventions to address these gaps to achieve sustained improvement in DEIA within their faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies.
  • Identify effective practices for enhancing DEIA within faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies that are feasible and can be disseminated for adoption by other institutions.

Ideally, institutions would leverage several different strategies to address DEIA and create cultures of inclusive excellence which lead to measurable and sustained enhancements and cultural change within the institutions. NIH expects the prize competition will identify many different approaches that may be scalable to other institutions across the biomedical, social, and behavioral research enterprise.

Learn more about the prize and visit for details.

To be eligible to win a prize under this prize competition, a participating entity must be a U.S.-based, accredited public or private nonprofit academic institution, as listed in the U.S. Department of Education database of accredited institutions and programs that grants associate, baccalaureate, or advanced degrees in biomedical, behavioral, or health sciences. All such institutions are eligible to submit an entry into the prize competition. A participating entity:

  • Shall have registered to participate in the prize competition under the rules promulgated by the National Institutes of Health, as set forth in this announcement; 
  • Shall have complied with all the requirements set forth in this announcement; 
  • Shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States; 
  • Shall not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of their employment; 
  • Shall not be an employee of the Department of Health and Human Services (or any component of HHS) acting in their personal capacity; 
  • Who is employed by a federal agency or entity other than HHS (or any component of HHS) should consult with an agency ethics official to determine whether the federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit the acceptance of a prize under this prize competition; 
  • Shall not be a judge of the prize competition or any other party involved with the design, production, execution, or distribution of the prize competition or the immediate family of such a party (i.e., spouse, parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild). 

Please see Section 1. Eligibility under the rules as well as to view the full requirements. 

Up to five of the ten $100,000 awards will be set aside for consideration for limited-resourced institutions (LRIs). For an institution to be eligible to compete as an LRI, all components of the institution must be R15 eligible, as appropriate (i.e., undergraduate-focused components must be AREA-eligible and health professional schools and graduate schools must be REAP-eligible as defined at NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15).  

Please note: Satisfying R15 criteria is only required for those competing as an LRI.

For institutions with multiple campuses (e.g., main, satellite, etc.) LRI eligibility can be considered for an individual campus only if a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and a unique NIH eRA Institutional Profile File (IPF) number are established for the individual campus.

For institutions that use one UEI or NIH IPF number for multiple campuses, LRI eligibility is determined for the campuses together. For a partnership to be eligible to compete as an LRI, all partners must be eligible to compete as LRI.

Please see Section 1. Eligibility under the rules as well as to view the full requirements. 

The NIH DEIA Prize Competition aims to recognize and reward transformative cultures, systems, projects, and processes that institutions of higher education have developed to promote inclusive excellence and create research environments that promote and value a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. These elements are essential to promote equity and eliminate structural barriers to success among students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty in the research enterprise.  

Another objective of this prize competition is to identify and disseminate effective practices for implementing institutional approaches that lead to transformative and enhanced culture change and advancement of students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral disciplines in institutions of higher education. This prize competition aims to highlight practices that have resulted in measurable change and more inclusive environments, and that can be feasibly adopted by other institutions.  

These approaches may represent policies, evidence-based programs, tools, and/or activities, or a mixture thereof. As this prize competition recognizes achievement through DEIA interventions that have already been applied such interventions must have been implemented prior to the launch date of this prize competition and have a demonstrated record as an effective model.  

The interventions should have targeted the full range of student, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty career stages (from junior faculty to senior leadership), and combated potential sources of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic status, disability, and/or sex, gender-based and sexual orientation inequities.

To access the submission platform and online forums, register no later than Tuesday, September 12, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Registration is required and is a simple two-step process. First, create a username and password then check your inbox to confirm your registration. Next, complete the online registration form. Once you are registered, submit your entry online no later than Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Visit News & Updates for access to resources, Q&A webinar information, and more to support you through the participation process.

Once the submission deadline passes, the NIH DEIA Prize Competition team will conduct administrative review to confirm each submission meets the rules and submission requirements before advancing to the judging panel. Judges will be assigned a selection of submissions and use the judging criteria to complete their evaluation.

Once this first phase of evaluation is complete, NIH will make the final determination of the recipients of the $100,000 awards and any honorable mentions.

Visit Evaluation to learn more.

NIH will award $1 million total including up to 10 prizes of $100,000 each. Up to five of these prizes will be set aside for consideration for limited resource institutions (LRIs). Additional entries may be recognized as honorable mentions with non-monetary awards. All winners and honorable mentions will have the opportunity to present at a virtual NIH symposium in spring 2024. Review the timeline to learn more. Details on this online event will be available in the coming months.

Prizes awarded under this prize competition will be paid by electronic funds transfer to eligible institutions and may be subject to federal income taxes. Awardees will need to provide an institutional bank account and routing information in order to receive the prize funds; prize funds will not be paid to individuals. HHS/NIH will comply with the Internal Revenue Service withholding and reporting requirements, where applicable.  

All institutions participating in this prize competition are encouraged, but not required, to request and obtain a free Unique Entity ID, if they have not already done so, via as this will expedite prize payment. Additional information can be found at

In 2024, each winning entry and honorable mention will be highly encouraged to attend a virtual NIH symposium to present interventions that have enhanced DEIA and created cultures of inclusive excellence. The symposium will result in a product that will serve as a resource for the entire biomedical research enterprise using electronic media formats to be determined by the COSWD.

For 6. Commitment Letter in the submission requirements, institutions must include a letter from the provost, or similar official with institution-wide responsibility, providing information on ongoing and future commitment to promote and sustain inclusive excellence and enhance diversity at the institution, with a focus on the biomedical and behavioral science schools, departments, centers, divisions, and research community.  

For partnership entries, all partner institutions must provide a commitment letter.

Additionally, for LRI entries, the commitment letter must include a statement verifying the LRI eligibility of the institution at the time of Prize Competition entry, based on the definition provided in the LRI question above and in Rules

Winning a previously conducted NIH prize does not exclude an institution from being eligible for the NIH DEIA Prize. For a list of eligibility requirements, review the Rules.

The entry should clearly describe: a) the identified gaps and/or barriers; and b) the interventions that have been implemented to address these and led to enhanced DEIA outcomes within the faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies.

Disclaimer: Undergraduate/AREA-eligible Institutions who do not have postdoctoral scholars will not be evaluated on ability to demonstrate effective interventions, outcomes, and innovation in addressing DEIA at the postdoctoral level.  

Single spacing is accepted. The executive summary and the institutional commitment letter are part of the 10-page limit. However, references are NOT a part of the 10-page limit. The entire document should be no more than 10 pages, excluding references.

No, the person completing the online submission does not need to be the signing official, but please be sure to include the required commitment letter as part of your submission.

You may include links but judges are not required to review any materials outside of the online submission. We encourage you to use the narrative responses in your submission to present your strongest case for support.

This is not an NIH grant award. As it is a prize competition, if awarded, institutions have zero restrictions on when or how they elect to use the prize funds.

Let’s celebrate inclusive excellence and a diverse scientific workforce.

NIH will award $1 million to U.S. biomedical, social, and behavioral science institutions with transformative solutions that create cultures of inclusive excellence.
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