Administration Announces Joint Committee to Invigorate US Research

May 23, 2019

On May 6, the White House National Science and Technology Council announced the creation of a committee to invigorate US Research, The National Science and Technology Council Joint Committee on Improving Research Environments. The joint committee will be co-chaired by the Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier, NIH Director Francis Collins, NSF Director France Córdova, as well as the Directors of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Energy. The joint committee identified four priority areas: administrative burdens on federally-funded research; rigor and integrity in research; safe, inclusive, and equitable research settings; and protecting American research assets.

At the NIH, the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on Changing Culture to End Sexual Harassment held a May 16 public listening session. Recognizing that pervasive sexual harassment creates obstacles – overwhelmingly for women – at all stages of their scientific career, the ACD working group will review agency plans to address sexual harassment and recommend further action.

The Working Group is charged with: 

  • Assessing the current state of sexual harassment allegation investigation, reporting, remediation, and disciplinary procedures at NIH-funded organizations;
  • Advising on oversight, accountability, and reporting measures for awardee institutions;
  • Proposing actions and policies to promote a safe and inclusive culture at NIH-supported research conferences;
  • Suggesting system-wide changes to culture and climate to prevent harassment and gender discrimination;
  • Developing strategies for encouraging research on anti-harassment policies, procedures, and training; and measures and evaluations of their effectiveness.

After an opening statement from Director Collins and brief statements from the Working Group’s co-chairs, the session facilitator, NIH Associate Director for Science Policy Carrie Wolinetz, welcomed five invited guests to tell their own stories of harassment and retaliation.