The Benefits of Diversity in Research and the Scientific Community
Kory Trott J.D. examines the need for and benefits of diversity in scientific research. Kory Trott is director of the research integrity and consultation program for Virginia Tech’s Office for Research and Innovation. He also educates the iTHRIV Scholars on need for diversity and inclusion within the scientific community.
Diversity brigs new perspectives, ideas, and experiences. But a commitment to diversity extends beyond simply creating a cohort of diverse people. Work is required to foster an environment that provides a forum to openly discuss different ideas, opinions, and beliefs. Without the free exchange of ideas, we limit ourselves to well-worn and familiar paths that are shaped by our own experiences. Debates about how to create spaces that are both emotionally safe and intellectually challenging have been happening on college campuses for decades, but that conversation rarely extends to the research environment.
All too often the voices of people who hail from underrepresented groups are marginalized in the scientific discourse. This perpetuates perceptions that the contributions of women, minorities, and LGBTQ people are somehow less significant than the contributions of other researchers. A limited exchange of ideas also hinders our ability as a university to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges. Debate inspired by diverse perspectives can be a catalyst for innovation.
Virginia Tech values collaboration and partnerships, guided by open expression, self-awareness, and mutual respect. We can all help to realize that aspiration by being more open to ideas that challenge us to walk new paths. Not only will that help create a more welcoming environment, but it will also help make Virginia Tech an even more successful research institution.
To learn more about Kory Trott and Virginia Tech's Office for Research and Innovation, please visit the Research and Innovation website.