Health and care research for the whole population - Statement of Intent

11 December 23

written by:

Press Office

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Fight for Sight/Vision Foundation supports a commitment to sustainable science that works for everyone regardless of gender.

As a medical research charity, we support the UK’s MESSAGE (Medical Science Sex and Gender Equity) initiative, which has co-designed a sex and gender policy which will be available from 2024. 

The initiative aims to ensure that biomedical health and care research is inclusive and requires consideration of sex and gender at every stage, from study design and recruitment to data analysis and transparent reporting of results.

This is essential for health and care research to be high-quality and reproducible. 

We know that some eye conditions are more prevalent among men or women. Keratoconus, for example, is more prevalent in men than women. Similarly, how people respond to treatments may differ depending on a person's gender (as well as other genetic factors).

Why is a consideration of gender important for medical research

Sex and gender play fundamental roles in individual and population health. Unlike other high-income countries – notably Canada, the United States and European nations under Horizon Europe – the UK currently has no standard, unified guidance for researchers about how adequately to consider sex dimensions in cell and animal studies and sex and gender dimensions in human studies.

Sex and gender influence:

  • the medical conditions people develop,
  • the symptoms they experience,
  • the treatments and quality of care they receive,
  • their disease progression
  • overall outcomes.

We are committed to providing our research community with the guidance, skills and tools to ensure that future research meets the needs of all people, no matter their sex or gender.

At Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation, we will work towards making this change in how we support research, including guiding applicants and reviewers when assessing applications, as well as signposting training for researchers.