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Named after UMBC's Freeman Hrabowski III, the new scholarship promises $ 1.5 billion to diversity-focused scientists – Baltimore Sun

The new $ 1.5 billion scholarship fund for early scientists announced Thursday by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is Freeman, a former president of the University of Maryland’s Baltimore County, known for advocating for the diversification of the scientific community. Named after Fravowski III.

The Institute’s Freeman Hrabowski Scholars Program will fund up to 150 early career scientists focused on diversity over the next 20 years. Every other year, 30 scholars receive five years of financial support and may be extended for another five years.

Scientists who stay in the program for 10 years receive up to $ 8.6 million to cover salaries, research funding, and scientific equipment. Scientists from qualified institutions across the country, including the UMBC, can apply by the September 28 deadline.

This program aims to maintain the heritage of Flabowski with the great financial support of scientists dedicated to the construction of diverse laboratories.

Leslie B. Voshall, vice president and director of science at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said the goals of the scholarship program are for scientists to do real work, such as preparing grant applications and other obligations to contribute to society. He said it was to remove the barriers that prevented him from concentrating on. Called a minority tax, it occurs when minorities are asked to help diversify their institutions for free.

The program “helps people achieve what [Hrabowski] Contributes to minorities [science, technology, engineering and math] Education in the United States, “Voshall said. “And those who know him will soon understand what we are trying to do with this program by bringing in scientists who live and breathe diversity.”

The Chevy Chase-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a legacy of the American businessman Howard Hughes, known for Hughes Aircraft Company. The Nonprofit Institute is considered one of the largest donations of any medical research foundation in the world.

Hrabowski will retire as UMBC Chairman 30 years later. Early in his tenure, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988 as an experiment. UMBC’s African-American men were awarded this award to support their entry into the scientific field. The program eventually expanded to include both men and women.

Hrabowski said the Howard Hughes Institute’s new scholarly program will help create “this wonderful ecosystem of leading scientists working on diversity and inclusion,” an ecosystem that does not yet exist.

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He said less than 2% of state institution scientists are black. According to him, most research universities usually have one or two black scientists and a “very few” Hispanic scientists. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12.1% of bioscientists in 2021 were black.

“So we still have a long way to go,” Hrabowski said.

Freeman Flabowski III President of Baltimore County University will stand with President Erin O'Shea of ​​the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in May 2018.

Hrabowski said he wants to increase the number of scientists from different backgrounds, including Kizzmekia Corbett, UMBC Almuna, and the first black woman to create a vaccine. She co-led the team that created the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.

The program is part of the Howard Hughes Institute’s $ 2 billion commitment to diversity, equity and inclusiveness goals.

Scholarships focus on scientific diversity, but scholarship students do not necessarily have to have a minority background. For example, early career scientists in white men, like the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, can be scholars as long as they meet other criteria.

The scholarship is aimed at scientists focused on issues such as cancer, diabetes and mental illness, Vosshall said. To eliminate the so-called minority tax on some scholars, Voshall said 80% of their time would have to be spent on research.

“It acts as a protective measure so that departments do not use their talents and diversity to distract them from science,” Vosshall said.