NIH reminds conference organizers to watch the bias against women, etc

Sep 09 2015 Published by under Fixing the NIH, NIH, NIH Careerism

We were just talking about a site which tracks conferences in the neurosciences to determine how well their speaker list reflects the sex distribution of subfield neuroscientists.

The fact that there is a need for, and a lot of applause for, such a site is interesting in view of this recent notice from the NIH.

NOT-OD-15-152 includes this comment:

NIH-Supported Conferences and Scientific Meetings
The NIH recognizes the value of supporting high quality scientific conferences and meetings relevant to its mission and to public health.   These conferences are enhanced when they welcome participants and presenters from all backgrounds, and when barriers to participation are eliminated.  Therefore, a critical component of the application for NIH conference support is documentation of representation of women, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and other individuals who are underrepresented in science in the planning and implementation of, and participation in the proposed conference. See, Guidelines for Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in NIH-Supported Conference Grants Policy, NOT-OD-03-066

Consistent with Federal civil rights laws, it is expected that organizers of NIH-supported conferences and scientific meetings take steps to maintain a safe and respectful environment for all attendees by providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment, sexual or otherwise. 

4 responses so far

  • ecologist says:

    fwiw, NSF has a similar requirement for any proposal requesting support for conferences.

  • @ecologist -- do you have a link to that? Thanks!

  • ecologist says:

    @BiasWatchNeuro ---- Yes; it's in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, which you can find here:

    The relevant passage is in the Grant Proposal Guide, Section II.D.9.

    "A conference proposal must contain the elements identified below ...

    ... f. A plan for recruitment of, and support for, speakers and other attendees, that includes participation of groups underrepresented in science and engineering (e.g., underrepresented minorities, women, and persons with disabilities); and

    g. A description of plans to identify resources for child care and other types of family care at the conference site to allow individuals with family care responsibilities to attend. Attendance for some participants will be dependent on the availability of such resources. This information should help enable attendees to make arrangements for family care, as needed.


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