Sexual misconduct by NIH-funded PIs IS research misconduct

I got this in my NIH grant info listserv email today:

Wherein the requirements for institutions to report and communicate to the NIH suspected and/or confirmed scientific misconduct promptly, confidentially, and thoroughly are laid out as a reminder to institutions that receive NIH funds.

It closes with this paragraph:

The NIH retains the authority to provide oversight regarding the management of grants and cooperative agreements. Accordingly, the NIH may take action(s) to protect the health and safety of the public, including research participants, to promote the integrity of the PHS supported research and research process, and to conserve public funds. When a recipient fails to comply with the terms and conditions of award, the NIH may take one or more enforcement actions including disallowance of costs, withholding of further support, or suspension or termination of the grant. These actions are described in Administrative Requirements—Enforcement Actions.

And I can't help but wonder WHY NIH is so reluctant to agree and define that sexual misconduct on the part of the PI or another person on the project, especially but not limited to that perpetrated on the research staff and students on the project, qualifies as related to their responsibility for protecting "the health and safety of the public, including research participants."

This notice serves to remind all of us that NIH DOES have purview over the conduct of research funded by its grants, and CAN enforce it through extreme measures up to and including termination or suspension of grants. No new policies or legislation are needed: Leadership of that research by individuals who compromise the health and safety of people working on the project should absolutely qualify as relevant to research misconduct as defined by their policies.

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