Event series to spotlight cross-cutting research by persons with disabilities

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is thrilled to announce the inaugural event in a series of hybrid gatherings aimed at highlighting the vital research conducted by persons with disabilities (PWD). This initiative seeks to address the underrepresentation of PWD across the scientific enterprise, especially in the STEM fields. The event series aims to increase awareness and participation of PWDs as principal investigators and awardees in NSF’s merit review processes while advancing involvement as agency staff.  

Despite PWD making up the world's largest minority group, including about 26% of the U.S. population, statistics reveal a persistent disparity: only 3% of workers in STEM fields are individuals with disabilities, a figure that has remained stagnant from 2011 to 2021. This event series aims to shine a light on this gap and discuss actionable steps to foster greater inclusivity and equity within STEM. 

Co-hosted by NSF's Disability Equity Initiative Working Group and the Division of Social and Economic Sciences within the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, the event series will feature a diverse array of scientists, educators and advocates. These experts will share innovative strategies and best practices designed to create a more inclusive environment for PWD in research and academia.

A key highlight of the event will be presentations by PWD who will discuss their research, much of which transcends disability-focused topics. Their contributions aim to enhance collective awareness of the barriers PWD face in participating in research activities and to promote a culture of inclusivity.

The first in the series of events will take place on July 10, 2024. The event marks a significant step toward ensuring that the contributions of PWD are supported at the highest level while exploring how leaders in the field can work together and explore innovative strategies to foster a more equitable environment for individuals with disabilities. 

To learn more about the event series please contact Marie Coppola mcoppola@nsf.gov.