Project North Star: Promoting Racial Equity in Federal Funding

What we stand for

Grant Engine is about saving lives and improving the length of quality life. Because we are about saving lives, we must discuss and address inequity and biases.

We stand for racial equity. Diversity matters.  Inclusion matters for under-represented groups. Black Lives Matter.  We stand for an awareness of conscious bias and an acknowledgement that unconscious bias exists. We stand for being open to recognize that unconscious of our bias and a commitment to acknowledge and reduce this bias. Separately, we are working on action steps to reconcile the underlying inequities of race and funding in this country, in both academia and small businesses. 

We stand for clarity and deliberate understanding of societal systems so we may fight this disparity.   We stand for actively contributing to the reconciliation between where we are today as a society and a place of racial equity.

We recognize everyone’s filters and bias  change how we receive information.  These filters and bias are relevant in areas of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other differences that may exist.

We stand for facing reality and making things as we want them to be, not just saying they should be different.

To fulfill our vision, we have these central principles:  

1. Intentionally work against bias; keep it in check; avoid seepage of discrimination.

2. Hearing: listening for understanding

3. Reconciling the differences that cause racial inequities through thoughtful action.

These topics speak to our core values: Trust, Customer Success, Excellence Without Bias, Teamwork. 


Disparities in US federal grant funding

Compared to White scientists (WH), African-American/Black (AA/B) scientists are much less likely to win an NIH RO1 grant; this disparity cannot be fully accounted for by the number of applicants.

A 2019 study found that there were approximately 36 times more WH applicants than AA/B applicants and that, overall, 72 times more WH applications were funded than AA/B applications.

Figure edited for readability from Hoppe, et al. 2019

Introducing Project North Star


The summer of 2020 highlighted for many of us how much work needs to be done to ensure the freedom, safety, and opportunities for all people within all parts of society, including those of scientific research and entrepreneurship. As a company, the Grant Engine team agreed that we all stand with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and we will continue to work towards the betterment of healthcare for all. We believe that doing our jobs to the best of our abilities includes making efforts to engage in antiracism and efforts towards equitable support for minoritized populations within the United States. 

Our world needs the best ideas and technologies to solve our biggest problems, and this won’t be possible until we reach racial equity. Grant Engine is working towards supporting the Black Lives Matter movement through dedication to increasing the number of federal grants awarded to businesses owned by innovators identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

To continue in our efforts to promote inclusion and diversity within scientific and healthcare fields, Grant Engine has initiated our new Project North Star. Inspired by the efforts of Frederick Douglass, a Black man who escaped slavery and went on to become an American social reformer to found the antislavery newspaper named “The North Star,” Grant Engine is committed to dedicating time and effort to promote success of BIPOC individuals through US federal funding mechanisms.

Project Initiatives

Aim 1 – Support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs in the pursuit of grant funding. This goes far beyond the efforts of the AAP program currently supported by NIH, and will include creating opportunities for professional development and grantsmanship training.
Aim 2 – Increase BIPOC participation study section participation on SBIR/STTR panels, and that across NIH.
Aim 3 – Publicize, support and catalyze a greater number of fundable SBIR/STTR Diversity Supplements under PA-21-345.

Initiatives for Increasing Diversity in Federal Funding

Fellowships, awards, and supplements for URM scientists

All NIH supplements

Postdoc specific support Diversity Supplement

Open Philanthropy’s Grants Database

Black Business’s Top Black and Minority Business Grants and Funding Opportunities

African American Grants’s Lists of Grants for Black Business Owners

Exclusive Opportunity for Entrepreneurs of Color


Grant Engine is regularly identified as a leader in winning US federal funding through writing and submitting small business grants for scientific research companies. As part of our pledge to increase inclusion and diversity within scientific research, we offer a free evaluation of potential grant funding for companies founded or lead by entrepreneurs of color. Neither filling out the form nor completing the funding evaluation require any commitment from either party.

To receive your complimentary evaluation, please complete our intake form and be sure to note that you are being referred through our website and Project North Star. One of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible to work with you on identifying your best opportunities for small business funding from US federal funding agencies.