Cardin weighs in on NIH bias study
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin called on the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health to re-evaluate its grant-making process in light of a report this week that found black scientists are significantly less likely to win medical research grants than their white counterparts.
The NIH-commissioned study, which was published in the journal “Science,” found that black scientists had a 10 percentage point lower chance of winning a grant than white researchers.
The study “raises concerns about the NIH grant review process,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement Friday. “NIH, which receives $30 billion annually in federal taxpayer dollars, has a responsibility to ensure that its grant review process is transparent and equitable, and that its research workforce is diverse.”
In response to the study, NIH officials have said they intend to review their grant process for bias and look for ways to confront it, such as removing identifying information from applications. The NIH is the nation’s largest source of medical research funding.
"The results of this study are disturbing and disheartening, and we are committed to taking action," NIH director Francis Collins said in a statement. "The strength of the U.S. scientific enterprise depends upon our ability to recruit and retain the brightest minds, regardless of race or ethnicity. This study shows that we still have a long way to go.”