A new study shows that black researchers are less likely to receive medical research grants from the National Institutes of Health than their white peers.

Researchers analyzed NIH grant data from 2000 to 2006. They found that black researchers were ten percentage points less likely to receive research funding.

The study was commissioned by the NIH and published in the journal Science.

The results of this study are disturbing and disheartening, and we are committed to taking action, NIH director Francis Collins said. The strength of the U.S. scientific enterprise depends upon our ability to recruit and retain the brightest minds, regardless of race or ethnicity. This study shows that we still have a long way to go.

The study was initiated in 2008 to see if racial and ethnic minority researchers with similar research records and affiliations were just as likely as their white counterparts to receive medical research grants, the press release stated.

The study showed that it was not the case.

The study's lead author, Donna Ginther, pointed out the importance of the biomedical workforce reflecting the diversity of the population.

As the population becomes increasingly diverse, we will continue to get further from that goal unless the community intervenes, she said in the press release.

The NIH is coming up with a plan of action to address these problems, which will include examining the grant review process for bias.