News Release

Monday, July 14, 2008

NIH Helps Advance Women in Biomedical Research Careers

For every bright mind that doesn't reach her or his full potential, biomedical research loses a new idea, a new approach, or a new perspective.

In an effort to advance talented women in leadership positions, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published today a Request for Applications (RFA) to support research on causal factors and interventions that promote and support the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering. The initiative will provide $2 to $3 million to fund up to eight R01 awards in fiscal year 2009.

"Through rigorous research efforts, the NIH and others will continue to close the gender gap in science and engineering," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "Collecting data to understand what affects the career trajectories for women and men will inform the development and adaptation of intervention strategies."

The RFA seeks to support research on causal factors explaining the career patterns of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering. It also aims to test the efficacy of programs designed to eliminate sex/gender disparities and to promote the careers of women in these fields. Areas of interest include family and economic circumstances; institutional/departmental environment and organizational structure; disciplinary culture or practices; and issues related to broader social and cultural context.

The initiative, sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), emerged from the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, co-chaired by Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Vivian Pinn, Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH). The Working Group was created to examine and address the issues highlighted in the National Academies report, "Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering", with attention to both extramural and intramural communities.

RFA-GM-09-012: Research on Causal Factors and Interventions that Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Science and Engineering (R01). The receipt date for applications is October 22, 2008. To view the announcement, visit For more information about the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, visit

NIGMS supports basic biomedical research that is the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. For more information, visit ORWH serves as the focal point for women's health research at the NIH. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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