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How can RFOs advance racial equity?

15 December 2022

Back to news Unequal representation in science means that some scientific questions are not getting asked or answered, and crucially, this limits the breadth of research and stifles innovation. For example, it is now known that encouraging broader populations to participate in clinical trials makes better therapies. Additionally, we know that increasing the diversity of human genome data can beneficially inform therapeutic development and the direction of genomics more broadly. Increasing the diversity of who participates in research careers improves health equity and outcomes by increasing the spread of research problems that are tackled.

Funders have a responsibility to encourage questions of representation within their activities to achieve racial equity, and should do so with care — especially as we know that not focusing on cultural differences combined with poorly designed incentives can lead to harmful and extractive interactions between researchers and the very populations that should be benefiting from research.

Finally, we know that populations that have been historically excluded from research can be more innovative and are more likely to produce novel scientific contributions. Yet, their work is often neglected or dismissed by other scientists.

Read the whole text published on 10 December 2022 in the Lancelet here.