The first strategy of the Medical School research strategic plan, “Great Minds, Greater Discoveries,” focuses on people—our greatest asset and our most valuable resource. Our goal is to be a destination for world-class researchers with active professional development across all stages of their careers. However, data from the U-M ADVANCE Program indicate that there are opportunities to improve our research climate for scientists underrepresented in the academy.
The Medical School Office of Research, in partnership with the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI), is committed to supporting an inclusive environment for all faculty and trainees to thrive. This aligns with the University of Michigan campus-wide DEI strategic plan, “Many Voices, Our Michigan,” which aspires to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate. As such, the Medical School Office of Research is sponsoring the formation of a new Research Climate Council to be advisory to the Executive Vice Dean for Research.
This council is tasked with evaluating our Medical School research climate and formulating actionable recommendations to create a research environment where Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty and trainees; women; and other marginalized groups can flourish. We recognize diversity in its myriad forms, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status and political perspective. The Research Climate Council will keep this knowledge at the forefront of their thinking in working to design and implement new initiatives. The Executive Vice Dean for Research has allocated a funding line and resources to support this work.
The Research Climate Council is charged with providing counsel, engagement, and advocacy in partnership with the Medical School Office of Research to build an inclusive research community where all members have a sense of belonging and can flourish.
The council will:
- Include representation from researchers (faculty, staff, and trainees) with diverse backgrounds and interests.
- Serve as a conduit for communication of climate related concerns to the Office of Research leadership.
- Sponsor characterization and in-depth analysis of climate associated metrics (both quantitative and qualitative) and monitor progress towards improvement of these metrics.
- Advise on and actively support research climate related initiatives sponsored by the Office of Research.
- Model actions and behaviors that support a diverse and inclusive climate.
Council Composition and Application Process
The Research Climate Council will be comprised of up to 13 members from the Medical School research community. Council members will be identified through an open-call application process. Eligible research community members include those actively involved in the conduct of research, including research, clinical and tenure-track faculty (all ranks), graduate and medical students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff. Applicants will be reviewed and members will be selected by the Office of Research leadership. The final council composition will be determined based on the applicant pool and diverse representation from across our research community. Click on the link below to access the application in Competition Space.
Council Governance and Reporting
Members will serve up to a two-year term. Appointments may be renewed and/or new members may be solicited, as needed. A chair, and more preferably a faculty and trainee co-chairs, will be elected from among the council members. The Research Climate Council chair(s) will provide in-person, quarterly updates during the Research Deans Leadership meeting, as well as an annual written report submitted to the Executive Vice Dean for Research.
The Research Climate Council will meet monthly, with additional ad hoc meetings as needed. Administrative support for the Research Climate Council will be provided by Office of Research Staff.