Columbia University in the City of New York

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Addressing structural inequities in science

Motor neurons in a spinal cord (Credit: David Ng / Columbia's Zuckerman Institute)


At Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, we are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). We acknowledge the destructive impacts of bias, prejudice and racism on the scientific community and society as a whole. To help dismantle the structural underpinnings that have sustained discrimination, we are developing new, more-equitable structures. Promoting diversity will help drive the transformative science that can change the world.


In 2020, amidst a global awakening to systemic inequities, we established an advisory board that developed ambitious institutional goals across eight key areas. With the help of working groups, we transitioned our goals into concrete actions distributed across our existing organizational structure and embedded in our day-to-day operations.


• We took strides toward closing diversity gaps among our senior scientists by hiring new faculty from underrepresented groups.

• We welcomed a Scholar-in-Residence focused on bias reduction training, who facilitated conversations and learnings across our community.

• With the aim of making our lobby more inviting to our local community, we installed new furniture and hosted public art exhibitions, featuring diverse stories drawn from people across our community.

• To improve access for early-career scientists with diverse research interests, we launched our Alan Kanzer Postdoctoral Fellows program. 

• We created new and expanded existing residency and public programs that welcome our neighbors in the Harlem community.

• Our communications efforts highlighted the achievements of colleagues from underrepresented groups and provided platforms for community members from diverse backgrounds to tell their stories, from the three-year, award-winning illustrated series The Science Life to photo essays focused on graduate students.


We recognize that we still have much to do and are dedicated to continuing this work.

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