Interest in sex and gender in research—and resources to help investigators—is growing. In the 5 years since NIH enacted its pioneering Policy on Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) (see our progress report here), there has been a lot of activity, including increased attention on sex differences and influences and many questions and requests for assistance. I’m pleased to announce the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) has issued two new courses, Sex as a Biological Variable: A Primer and Bench to Bedside: Integrating Sex and Gender to Improve Human Health, to our suite of free e-learning offerings.
Imagine this scenario. In the hustle to publish a paper, you accidently forgot to cite the underlying NIH support. Or, the opposite, you opt to include that other grant in the acknowledgements that did not have anything to do with the work. No problem, right?
Well, it could be. Accurately and precisely acknowledging NIH funding allows us to properly assess award outputs and make recommendations for future research directions. It is also a term and condition of award outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Since the Stevens Amendment passed in 1989, recipients have been required to acknowledge federal funding when publicly communicating projects or programs funded with HHS funds.
We are working to identify ways to lower barriers for all new applicants to the NIH SBIR and STTR programs. Conferences have the ability to bring people together expressly to share perspectives and exchange expertise, including the lessons of personal experience. That is why I am pleased to announce as a first step in addressing these concerns we will be sponsoring the 2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference with the theme “Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations.” The meeting will take place virtually April 26-30 and registration is free.
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Extramural Scientific Workforce – Outcomes from an NIH-Led Survey
At NIH, we recognized the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic could adversely affect the biomedical workforce, particularly members of underrepresented groups and vulnerable populations. In October 2020, NIH fielded two online surveys to objectively document COVID-19’s impact on extramural research. One survey assessed the perspective of individual research administration leaders at extramural institutions, and the other survey assessed the perspective of the researchers themselves. In this post, we offer a high-level overview of general trends noted within both surveys.
Next week marks the one-year anniversary of NIH shifting to maximum telework in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like employers and employees across the country, overnight we needed to adapt our entire enterprise and reinvent our jobs in the virtual workplace.
On March 1, NIH Director Francis Collins announced NIH’s broad-based initiative, UNITE, to end structural racism and racial inequities in biomedical science. This is a recognition of the need for urgent, sustained effort on many fronts across the research enterprise, including in all parts of the NIH’s extramural processes, to change culture. While the NIH Institutes and Centers will examine their programmatic priorities and discretionary funding practices, here at CSR, we are committed to pushing ahead with efforts to protect the peer review process from the systemic biases that exist in all areas of the scientific community.
Announcement of Childcare Costs for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Supported Individual Fellows
As part of our on-going efforts to develop programs which support family-friendly research environments for the NIH-supported workforce, NIH will begin providing an option for NRSA fellows to request support for childcare costs in new and continuation applications or as administrative supplements to existing awards effective April 8, 2021. The NRSA childcare costs apply to full-time NIH-NRSA supported fellowship positions. Each fellow is eligible to receive $2,500 per budget period to defray childcare costs. The NRSA childcare costs are not tied to any payback obligations.
I am proud to join my NIH colleagues today in reaffirming our commitment to fostering a diverse biomedical research workforce and ending structural racism at NIH, the institutions we support, and anywhere where NIH research activities take place. Working together, we can continue identifying and dismantling any policies, practices, or other impediments that may harm our supported workforce and science. We encourage you to join us in this effort. Please take a moment to read the statement below from the NIH Director on achieving racial equity in biomedical research and visit our new webpage, which includes more on the UNITE initiative. You are also welcome to share your thoughts and ideas to our Request for Information directly with us here.
Last fall, we launched our newly revamped RePORTER site which made it easy to find information about specific NIH supported grants, investigators, and institutions. Today, we are adding to RePORTER’s functionality with a modernized version of MyRePORTER so you can stay on top of the research you care the most about.
With MyRePORTER, you can save searches and set customized weekly email alerts that are sent when new projects are funded or new publications are linked to projects in your search. Email alerts will provide a summary listing of the new items, with hyperlinks to bring you back to MyRePORTER to get more information about the projects and publications.
The National Library of Medicine has embarked on several stakeholder activities as part of the roadmap for modernization that we want to highlight in this post. We will also continue to share opportunities for involvement and invite you to join us for an upcoming webinar on February 18, 2021 at 3 pm ET to learn more about our modernization efforts.