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Enhancing Institutional Research Capacity: Results and Lessons from a Pilot Project Program

By SRAI News posted 11-29-2018 12:00 AM



In a series of articles, we will present the newest in research administration from the Journal of Research Administration. To read the full JRA, please see here.


Leslie Bienen, Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University Joint School of Public Health; Carlos J. Crespo, Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University Joint School of Public Health; Thomas E. Keller, Portland State University School of Social Work; Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research at Portland State University; Alexandra R. Weinstein, Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University Joint School of Public Health; Portland State University School of Social Work

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) considers increasing diversity of the U.S. biomedical workforce to be of such paramount importance that, in 2013, NIH leadership allocated 240 million dollars from the Common Fund to establish the BUILD (Building University Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) Initiative (“Building University Infrastructure Leading to Diversity”, n.d; “RFA-RM-13-016”, n.d). The major aim of the BUILD initiative, which is ongoing as of October 2018, is to encourage development and evaluation of innovative approaches for effectively engaging and retaining undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research (Valantine & Collins, 2015). In 2013, universities that met two criteria could apply for the first round of BUILD funding: 1) received less than 7.5 million dollars of NIH funding annually, averaged over the previous three years; and 2) enrolled a high percentage of low-income students. BUILD had the goal of identifying institutions that educate traditionally underrepresented student populations and substantially enhancing research and training capacity at those institutions (“RFA-RM-13-016”, n.d). Ten BUILD applicants were ultimately awarded five-year grants, at varying levels of funding, with the possibility of renewal for another five years. (For a full description of BUILD and to learn about the ten successful round one BUILD sites, see 

Portland State University (PSU), in Portland, OR, received a BUILD award and named our initiative BUILD EXITO (Enhancing Cross-Disciplinary Infrastructure and Training at Oregon). PSU is the primary institution. We have ten partner institutions: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), a research-intensive academic health center in Portland; four community colleges in Oregon and Washington that contribute a large number of transfer students to PSU; and six other partners, both two-year and four-year institutions, that span the Pacific Rim, with locations in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands (see Table 1). Renewal applications were due in June 2018 and BUILD EXITO applied to renew our funding.

To read the full manuscript, Please click here.

Interested in becoming a Journal Author? Please see here and submit a manuscript.