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Day of Collective Action

March 22, 2022 

Dear Research Community, 

In honor of the University of Utah’s Day of Collective Action, the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) would like to emphasize our support and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the U. In June 2020, the VPR Office made a commitment to take real action against systemic racism and discrimination within our research community. The VPR Office has collaborated with research faculty, post-docs, students, and staff from diverse backgrounds and identities to create impactful DEI programs and resources for U research activities. Over the last two years, the VPR Office has committed over $1.2M to implement the following DEI programs: 

  • Institutional Funding Support – The VPR Office provided funding support for DEI-related research projects to strengthen high-profile grant submissions, including opportunities from NSF, NIAID, NIDDK, NCATS. For full details, visit the DEI research funding opportunities website. 
  • Administrative Supplements – The VPR Office provided funding support to recruit and retain diverse research personnel from groups that have been historically excluded from higher education. This program helped recruit underrepresented faculty, students, and staff, including members of the LGBTQ+ community and scholars with disabilities. 
  • Grant Development Specialist –The VPR Office hired the first DEI-focused Grant Development Specialist, Dr. Mercedes Ward, to support strategic planning and grant development for DEI research opportunities. 
  • Education and Training – The VPR Office revised and developed new DEI research educationclasses related to human subjects’ research and Best Practice Networksthat works directly with sexual and gender minority populations to build engagement and inclusion. For full details on these programs, visit our Office of Research Compliance and Integrity website. 
  • Diverse Research Participants –The VPR Office increased research translation services for non-English speaking participants in our public community. In addition, we are continuously collecting demographics to evaluate access to novel research interventions for individuals of all backgrounds. 
  • DEI Communications and Support –The VPR Office created and launched a new U research community website to communicate important DEI programs, opportunities, and updates. In addition, we are excited to share the very first U research newsletter, REDI, that primarily focuses on DEI funding opportunities, research-related topics, highlights, and more. 


We are proud of our current efforts; however, the VPR office will continue to collaborate with our research communities to create new and sustainable DEI research programs at the U. We are currently supporting new research activities on gender equity, environmental justice, and food sovereignty. 

We’re excited to move forward on future DEI research programs and encourage each of you to join us in a challenge to internally reflect how to incorporate DEI efforts in your research space. Some questions to consider are: 

  • How can I take action to enhance DEI within my department/unit? 
  • Does my research include participants from diverse social identities and lived experiences? 
  • Am I providing opportunities within my research lab that is accessible to everyone? 
  • How can I incorporate DEI within my research study? 

These questions and internal reflection are just a starting point. The VPR Office encourages open feedback and is committed to addressing how WE can support DEI efforts in your research space and what type of resource our leadership can provide. Please fill out this survey if you would like to share any suggestions and ideas. 

There is so much more work to do, and we are grateful for those who continue to partner with the VPR office, including the Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the U. We would also like to thank the Presidential Commission on Equity and Belonging for their leadership and encourage all of you to participate in some of the Day of Collective Action events. This work has truly been a One U effort and we thank you for your support in fostering a U research campus that is just and inclusive for all. 


Erin Rothwell, Interim Vice President for Research 
Caren J. Frost, Associate Vice President for Research Integrity and Compliance 
Jakob Jensen, Interim Associate Vice President for Research 

CC: College Deans, Associate Deans for Research, VPR Unit Directors 

Last Updated: 6/8/22