Year in Reflection 2018

As we look back at 2018 – or for that matter any year – it seems reasonable to ask questions like “Irrespective of the outcomes, did we make the right decisions?” Given the choices we had, did we go about making our choices in a skillful way? And we can dig deeper – did we take steps to minimize uncertainty? … to mitigate the impact of bad outcomes? … to seek a diversity of opinions? … to make our decisions as data-driven as possible? … Continue reading

Curling up with a New NIH Data Book

For the New Year, we resolve to make NIH data, reports, and analyses more accessible, interactive, and easy to use. For over a decade, the NIH Data Book has served as a helpful resource for describing funding trends on grants and contract awards, success rates, small business programs, peer review, as well as the scientific workforce. These data, presented as graphics and tables, have allowed you to get a better understanding of decisions made here at NIH. We are proud to announce a new edition is available for your 2019 reading list. Continue reading

Resources for Rigorous Research

Advancing public health depends on science being empirical, transparent, and rigorous. As yet another step towards fostering rigorous science, we have revamped the Rigor and Reproducibility webpage to highlight and include more resources you might find helpful. Since sketching out our plan last summer with the Advisory Council to the NIH Director, the webpage now reflects policy updates and explores new resources, all in a simple and easy to read manner. Continue reading

Comments Welcomed on the Draft Report Recommending How to Reduce Administrative Burden in Research with Laboratory Animals: A Next Step in Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act

The 21st Century Cures Act requires federal agencies to “review applicable regulations and policies for the care and use of laboratory animals and make revisions, as appropriate, to reduce administrative burden on investigators while maintaining the integrity and credibility of research finding and protection of research animals.” This past March we requested feedback from the public on ways to reduce regulatory burden while also maintaining the highest standards for protecting animal welfare and scientific integrity. You responded with constructive and helpful feedback with more than19,000 comments. Generally, many responses supported the actions initially proposed in the request, but they were balanced with concerns from animal advocacy and other groups. Continue reading

Changes to the R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA), and Introducing the R15 Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP)

Students in institutions with significant amounts of NIH funding, whether they be undergraduate or graduate students, generally have plenty of opportunities to gain exposure to biomedical research. This early exposure is key to engendering interest in exploring careers in science and enhancing understanding of the value of the research process. Institutions with little NIH funding often offer significantly fewer opportunities for students to do hands-on research. That’s where NIH’s AREA program comes in. Continue reading

New Funding Opportunities for Basic Experimental Studies Involving Humans

Over the past year, since we published an essay in Nature Human Behaviour on “NIH policies on experimental studies with humans,” NIH has engaged in a discussion with the basic science community to find ways to meet our shared obligations to study participants and taxpayers, while respecting the unique goals and outcomes of basic science.  While we are still in the midst of that conversation, we are pleased to announce real progress in the form of new funding opportunity announcements for Basic Experimental Studies involving Humans.  Continue reading

Working Together to Protect the Integrity of NIH-funded Research

When research findings are made up from thin air, misrepresented in some way, or blatantly and without credit copied from others, we risk eroding the public’s trust, damaging institutional reputation, harming careers, incurring skepticism, misleading future research, and, arguably most importantly, hurting patients. NIH takes research misconduct seriously. We are being proactive.
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Understanding Age in the NIH Portfolio: Implementation of the NIH Inclusion Across the Lifespan Policy

Last December, NIH announced a revision to its Inclusion of Children Policy to expand the policy to individuals of all ages. The revised policy, now called the Inclusion Across the Lifespan policy, requires individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) be included in clinical research studies unless there are scientific or ethical reasons to exclude them.
A recent Viewpoint Essay published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), co-authored by Drs. Marie Bernard (National Institute on Aging), Janine Clayton (NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health), and Michael Lauer, highlights the need for such a policy. The essay summarizes efforts by NIH to implement 21st Century Cures requirements to publish data on the age of research participants, to convene a workshop on age grouping and exclusions, and to make a determination on whether to revise inclusion guidelines on age.
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Protecting Participants, Empowering Researchers: Providing Access to Genomic Summary Results

Today, we are updating the way we manage data related to the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy to again allow unrestricted access to genomic summary results for most of the studies we support in order to advance health or further research purposes. These summary results are importantly distinct from other genomic research data, most notably in that they do not include individual-level information. Instead, these results come from analyzing pooled genomic data from multiple individuals together to generate a statistical result for the entire dataset. Such information can be a powerful tool for helping researchers determine which genomic variants potentially contribute to a disease or disorder. Continue reading