The National Science Foundation (NSF) spent over $3 million to stop “microaggressions,” “implicit bias,” and “lack of diversity,” according to a Tuesday report.
$174,932 will be used to fund an “Implicit Bias Conference” hosted by Stanford University, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will receive nearly $1 million to stop “bias incidents” against minorities in STEM and the NSF will give Texas A&M University nearly $2 million to help enhance “diversity, inclusion and quality” of the school’s STEM community, according to Campus Reform.
The “Implicit Bias Conference” will examine racial bias, whether it affects people’s decisions, and whether efforts to prevent it from having an impact are successful.
University of New Hampshire will use its $1 million to team up with three other universities to create a “bias awareness guide and intervention tool.”
Alleging that bias against women in STEM exists, the description for UNH’s program asserts that it “is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of women faculty in academic institutions. Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in policies, processes, practices, and the organizational culture and climate.”
The $2 million dedicated to Texas A&M’s REvolutionizing Diversity Of Engineering will be used to “dramatically improve the diversity, inclusion, and quality of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members” at the school, as well as incorporate curriculum changes by shifting the aerospace engineering department’s focus from “airplanes and spacecraft” to “energy systems, the environment, healthcare, and quality of life.”
Aya Collins, a spokeswoman for the NSF, mentioned a study showing a correlation between gender and racial diversity and financial returns for companies.
“NSF firmly believes that STEM education and research environments…that are inclusive and respectful are more likely to produce more scientists and engineers with diverse expertise and experiences, and more likely to result in important and innovative STEM research,” said Collins to TheDCNF. “These grants were awarded through our competitive merit review process, considered by many to be the ‘gold standard’ of scientific review. These projects could lead to improvements in STEM education and research environments, having a profound effect on not only the scientific enterprise, but industry as well.”
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