On March 9, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The document provides that the HHS Secretary, through the Director of NIH, “may support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law.” The NIH Director must issue guidance on appropriate human stem cell research within 120 days of the order. In addition, Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop recommendations to “guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch,” including providing that:
- The selection of scientists and technology professionals for science and technology positions in the executive branch is based on those individuals’ scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, and experience;
- Agencies make available to the public the scientific or technological findings considered or relied upon in policy decisions;
- Agencies use scientific and technological information that has been subject to well-established scientific processes, such as peer review; and
- Agencies have appropriate rules and procedures to ensure the integrity of the scientific process within the agency, including whistleblower protection.