NIH Grant Expansion, Ancestral Diversity and Scientific Discovery in Genomics Research

86 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2022 Last revised: 25 May 2023

See all articles by Wei Fu

Wei Fu

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine

Shin-Yi Chou

Lehigh University

Li-San Wang

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: June 2022

Abstract

In the approaching era of genomic medicine, the underrepresentation of minority populations in human genetics and genomics research has raised growing concerns regarding the distributive justice in the translation of biomedical innovations into human health across populations. Quantitative assessment of public funding policy in addressing the missing diversity is imperative yet lacking. In this paper, we fill this gap by empirically answering two central questions in the context of Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS): whether improved funding opportunity facilitates minority health research, and how significant is the scientific value of funding science on underrepresented populations. Our identification draws on an exogenous NIH grant expansion under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, and exploits variations in the share of people with medical conditions among minorities relative to whites. Our main findings are threefold. First, the ARRA-NIH grant expansion contributes to an increase in the inclusion of minority ancestries in GWAS. It also facilitates the engagement of minority scientists in academic activities and promotes their role in scientific collaborations. The grant expansion fosters the discoveries of disease-associated genetic variants within minority populations. This quantitative evidence speaks to the role that public funding policy can play in advancing science.

Suggested Citation

Fu, Wei and Chou, Shin-Yi and Wang, Li-San, NIH Grant Expansion, Ancestral Diversity and Scientific Discovery in Genomics Research (June 2022). NBER Working Paper No. w30155, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4140872

Wei Fu (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine ( email )

Shin-Yi Chou

Lehigh University ( email )

621 Taylor Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

Li-San Wang

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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