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Best Practices for Reducing Organizational, Cultural, and Institutional Barriers in STEM Research

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2024
50 pages

This publication discusses best practices to overcome barriers in STEM research.


In response to the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, this report serves as an overview of the best practices designed to reduce organizational, cultural, and institutional barriers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to optimize organizational climate and participation. The report also conveys the roles and responsibilities of federally funded organizations and federal agencies to support such practices. This report outlines three steps to effectively use climate surveys to optimize organizational climate and rectify institutional barriers: 1) identify the organization’s needs and the climate survey’s purpose; 2) select measures that align with the identified purpose and provide accurate and useful information; 3) analyze climate survey results, including the use of benchmarking and disaggregated data, to provide a clear path forward for organizational improvement. There are additional steps for leveraging educational and training opportunities to reduce organizational, cultural, and institutional barriers in STEM: 1) identify educational and training opportunities, ensuring that all opportunities are accessible; 2) select an effective educational or training model, recognizing that the typical “one and done” professional development sessions tend not to have the intended impact on the organization that more prolonged approaches may have; and 3) evaluate the effectiveness of educational and training opportunities on organizational culture and institutional barriers. To identify and eliminate organizational, cultural, and institutional barriers across STEM education, research, and workforce environments, this publication also covers considerations found to be important as organizations implement change and makes recommendations to reduce cultural and institutional barriers that hinder recruitment, retention, and advancement of groups underrepresented in STEM education and careers.

Date Published: May 1, 2024