More Details on Human Fetal Tissue Policy Implementation

Funding News Edition: January 08, 2020
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NIH policy on Human Fetal Tissue (HFT) Research requires that applications and proposals involving HFT that fall within a fundable scoring range be assessed for policy compliance by an ethics advisory board. The policy applies to any competing HFT applications funded on or after June 5, 2019, as well as any noncompeting awards seeking prior approval to add or expand HFT research.

As stated in the December 23, 2019 Guide notice, HHS will publish a public solicitation for nominees to the ethics board in early 2020, after which the HHS Secretary will appoint members. The ethics board will have between 14 and 20 members, including at least one ethicist, one attorney, one practicing physician, one theologian, and a plurality of accomplished scientists.

The ethics board will likely meet once annually. We expect the first meeting to take place in July 2020.

Again, all pending grant applications and contract proposals with HFT are subject to review by the ethics board before NIAID can fund them. Grant applicants may negotiate removing HFT experiments from a project, obviating the need for review by the ethics board. To do so, consult with your application’s assigned program officer and grants management specialist to verify that the project will not be seriously compromised as a result. We will consider the impact on your proposed research as part of the negotiation for initial award.

For more on this topic, read our October 16, 2019 article “Take Note if Proposing Human Fetal Tissue Research.”    

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