NIH Revises Extensions Policy for Early Stage Investigators
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has revised its policy against granting extensions to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) who request a second extension due to challenges posed by COVID-19. Inside Higher Education reports that previously, NIH did not grant extensions to ESIs who were already in an extension period. But this past Friday, following a petition that included several hundred signatures, that policy has been revised.
From Inside Higher Education: "Prior to the policy adjustment, many women said they’d been denied pandemic-related extension requests because they’d already been granted extensions due to childbirth... By Friday morning, a petition criticizing the NIH’s long-standing policy against extensions on extensions had already garnered more than 400 signatures. The 'extra burden of a global pandemic has been shown by several studies to have disproportionately impacted women with small children,' ... Such a policy, the petition continues, 'is discriminatory to the very group of people who were the hardest hit by COVID (women with small children), at precisely the point in their career when the NIH purportedly is making efforts to retain them in academia (early stage investigators).'"