When NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins and I announced NIH's decision to develop policies that will require applicants to address the influence of sex in preclinical research, we set the stage for an important conversation.
Since May, we have been pleased to hear from a number of researchers who are excited about the rollout of this policy. Many of you noted that you'd hoped NIH would make this change for some time.
We've also heard from others who have concerns, including how this policy might affect different types of research, how best to include both females and males in research, and what this means for funding. Many scientists and advocates have expressed the need for this change to be carefully implemented, as a true benefit to science — and not become a trivial, bureaucratic box to check. The powerful potential for improving the health of men and women is at stake, and we want to create meaningful change in a deliberate and thoughtful way. So, to begin the development of this policy, we want to hear from you.
Today the NIH Office of Extramural Research released a Request for Information (RFI): Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable in Biomedical Research. This RFI seeks input from the research community and other interested stakeholders to share their perspectives on key questions about the consideration of sex in NIH-funded studies.
As Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Sally Rockey noted in her blog post today, "Your input will help us shape policies that enhance the rigor of biomedical research, and in turn strengthen the foundation of clinical research."
Thoughtful input from scientists, institutions, the medical community, professional societies, patients, and everyone who plays a role in the biomedical research enterprise will help us develop policies to ensure that NIH supports the most rigorously designed research studies that will transform discovery and health.
I hope that you will share your perspectives on this important change. NIH's Office of Extramural Research has set up a website to collect your feedback: Tell us what you think, what you know, and what you'd like to know. I look forward to continuing this critical conversation.