What is the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s vision for the scientific workforce of the future?
For the past 25 years, a core goal of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund was to support early career scientists to develop into the leaders of biomedical research. As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, we expanded our mission to develop scientific leaders in society beyond academia. A science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educated workforce is beneficial in many areas of commerce, for example the venture capital space. We believe that a diverse scientific workforce is essential to a robust economy and scientific progress.
Why is it important to fund diversity initiatives in science?
Several studies have shown that a diverse workforce leads to increases in innovation, better decision making and increased profit margins compared to less diverse groups. (Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters, McKinsey & Company, 2020). Despite several decades of federally supported programs, racial and ethnic minority Americans continue to be underrepresented among PhD recipients and in the STEM workforce. BWF has a long standing history of competitive awards to address the lack of diversity in STEM, including the Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Award (PDEP). PDEP supports the advancement of underrepresented scientists and to position awardees to be more competitive in their pursuit to secure academic research careers.
How does partnering with FFAR support the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s diversity in science goals?
We were thrilled to partner with FFAR to support the Kirchner Food Fellowship, HBCU Cohort, an important program designed to train the next generation of venture capital allocators in food and agriculture. The program launched the HBCU cohort to help address the lack of diversity within the VC sector. Partnering with FFAR to support the Fellows will benefit the VC sector, the agriculture business sector, the overall STEM workforce and help develop future leaders. We look forward to the exciting results from this project and look forward to partnering with FFAR in the future.
Miquella “Kelly” Rose, Program Officer at Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Dr. Miquella “Kelly” Rose, a program officer at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, oversees the Interfaces and Regulatory Science programs that invest a combined $10 million a year in biomedical research. Dr. Rose serves on the Committee of Inclusive Excellence for the National Organization of Research Development Professionals and is co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group for the Health Research Alliance. Prior to BWF, Dr. Rose was Executive Director for the Research Triangle Material Research Science and Engineering Center. Dr. Rose earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of New Mexico and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF).