Inclusion of Special Populations: Women, Minorities, and All Ages
Your human subjects research plans must include women, minorities, and participants of all ages unless you can justify their exclusion. Follow NIH’s inclusion policies on special populations:
- Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects
- Inclusion Across the Lifespan
As you develop a plan for recruitment and retention of study participants, consider how the age range could affect your plans.
In your application, provide inclusion information about your participants and justify their age range. If you plan to exclude some age groups or populations, fully justify why.
Reviewers will check whether you adequately justified your proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of participants based on your scientific goals and research strategy.
After you get the award, you will submit updated information in the Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as part of your annual progress report. Learn more about progress reports in Reporting Requirements During Your Grant.
To change the involvement of human subjects in an active award, you must request prior approval. If applicable, include documentation of new or revised inclusion plans in your written request. Follow instructions in the Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP.
Investigating Foreign Populations
For foreign awards, the NIH policy on inclusion in research is the same as that for the United States.
For both foreign awards and domestic awards with foreign components, report on planned study populations using the Planned Enrollment Report.
If there is scientific rationale for examining subpopulation group differences in a foreign population, consider designing your study to accommodate those differences, and discuss this in your application.
Outreach plan. You will need a culturally sensitive outreach plan. Build trust by involving relevant parties, such as family, religious organizations, and community leaders, when developing the plan.
In some cases, conducting a community consultation may benefit potential participants and your study. Although not required, NIH supports and encourages community consultations for many types of research. To learn more, read NIH Points to Consider When Planning a Genetic Study That Involves Members of Named Populations.
Regulatory oversight. You must obtain regulatory oversight by either the Food and Drug Administration (under an investigational new drug or investigational device exemption) or the regulatory body of the country where the research is to be conducted. Send NIAID written documentation from a foreign regulatory body showing you are in compliance with local laws.
Country-specific protections. See HHS International Compilation of Human Subjects Research Protections. Scroll to your country of interest.
A program officer in your area of science can give you application advice, NIAID's perspective on your research, and confirmation that NIAID will accept your application.
Find contacts and instructions at When to Contact a NIAID Program Officer.