Washington Update

NIH Panel Emphasizes Diversity as Vital to Innovation in Pharma

By: Grace Steward
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
National Institutes of Health (NIH) kicked off its 2022–2023 Scientific Workforce Diversity Seminar Series with a virtual panel on how diversity affects innovation in pharma. Panelists highlighted how a diverse workforce leads to greater innovation in the pharmaceutical industry that bolsters both health outcomes and businesses.

A recurring theme echoed in each panelist’s presentation was that diverse teams have a broader coverage of perspectives that allows them to be more effective at problem solving and innovation than homogenous teams. In studies and anecdotes presented by the panelists, diverse teams used this broader perspective to scrutinize facts more closely, adapt quickly to obstacles, and address overlooked gaps in research to build a stronger portfolio. Ethnically diverse and gender diverse companies were more likely to have financial returns above their industry medians, according to a McKinsey report, demonstrating that supporting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion efforts to cultivate and retain a diverse workforce elevates everyone.

Following the first hour of the panel was a trainee-focused career development session. Panelists emphasized the importance of both reaching out to find mentorship and mentoring others to foster an inclusive environment. Additionally, as many trainees expressed concern about adapting to a work culture different from their background, panelists responded with ways for trainees to embrace and market their multicultural experiences as strengths, especially in global enterprises.

The next NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Seminar will focus on how diversity supplements can impact researcher’s career paths and will be held on November 17 at 1:30 pm ET.