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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: Foundational Cornerstones of Research & Science

Posted by Dr. Shefali Mehta, Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics in Equity Research and Science
Jan 20, 2022
Three scientists looking at a vial with USDA Science overlay

To ensure the greatest impact of the research and statistical work conducted in the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, equity, diversity and inclusion must be a core part of our USDA science agencies’ programs, operations and culture.

Advancing equity, both internally and externally, has been a major focus of our agencies over the past year. In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities, REE created an Equity Action Plan outlining actions we intend to take in 2022 to further our progress in service to stakeholders and communities who have often been overlooked and underserved.

REE programs provide critical information, data and research that impact countless USDA programs and stakeholders across the country. Our ability to fully reflect the public interest ensures that we’re able to deliver the best research, science and data for the many stakeholders who rely on us.

As a mission area, REE’s commitment to equity falls into 6 overarching, interwoven categories:

  • evolving the research and data portfolio to integrate and reflect the diversity of the country we serve,
  • targeting research and education funding opportunities for historically underserved groups,
  • broadening and diversifying partnerships,
  • improving access to research and data,
  • strengthening the agricultural and food research pipeline, and
  • evolving our internal culture.

We will pursue these priorities and cascading actions with vigor and a commitment to the people that rely on and trust our data and research. These actions build on the progress made thus far and respond directly to the priorities outlined in Executive Order 13985 Racial Equity and Support to Underserved Communities.

By further embedding diversity, equity and inclusion directly into our programs and our culture, we simultaneously strengthen our research, expand the reach and impact, broaden opportunities for our next generation of scientists and leaders, and reinforce public trust in USDA’s premier research enterprise.

Category/Topic: Equity Research and Science