NIH Statement: Changing the Culture of Science to End Sexual Harassment

Last week, NIH Director Francis S. Collins issued a statement about the pervasive problem of sexual harassment in science and reaffirmed NIH’s commitment to address it. He noted that NIH is working to bolster its policies and practices to foster a culture of respect wherever NIH research activities are conducted, and to ensure that sexual harassment is not tolerated or ignored.

NIH has launched a new website on anti-sexual harassment activities. I encourage you to explore the site and become familiar with NIH’s policies, practices, and initiatives.

Consistent with NIGMS’ strong commitment to research training, the Institute recently announced that applications for our predoctoral T32 training programs must include in their required institutional support letters information about the institution’s policies and procedures to prevent discriminatory harassment and respond appropriately to allegations or findings of discriminatory harassment. Moving forward, NIGMS will require this information in institutional support letters for applications for all of our training programs.

4 comments on “NIH Statement: Changing the Culture of Science to End Sexual Harassment

  1. This is good but still not enough. We can’t totally rely on institutions to act. NIH and NIGMS need to be able to remove funding from PIs who engage in sexual harassment. IF NSF can do it, why can’t NIH extramural research
    Mark Peifer

  2. Does NIH really think a letter is going to fix this problem? Money talks – either remove funding from the PI like the NSF or reduce an institution’s indirect cost rate for every PI in violation. That would make institutions act.

    • If an NIH awardee organization places a principal investigator (PI) named on an NIH grant on administrative leave or otherwise changes the PI’s status as the result of an investigation or finding related to sexual harassment or other circumstances, the awardee institution is required to notify NIH. Depending on the circumstances, NIH’s options would likely be similar to NSF’s, such as working with the institution to approve a substitute PI, disallowing costs, or suspending or terminating the grant, among other possible actions.

  3. Jon,
    This is weak. Stop funding men found guilty of sexual harassment, assault and retaliation to train students. No more travel money. No more training money. No more study section service.

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