The MESSAGE Project

The MESSAGE (Medical Science Sex and Gender Equity) project aims to improve the integration of sex and gender considerations across data collection, analysis and reporting in biomedical, health and care research in the UK.

This initiative is bringing together stakeholders from across the UK to co-design a sex and gender policy framework for funding and regulatory organisations and supporting policy implementation across the UK research sector

abstract design

Ensure your research complies with new UK sex and gender policies

The MESSAGE policy framework, training materials for researchers and funding organisations, an annotated bibliography (to understand sex and gender dimensions identified in previous research in your field), and further resources about how to integrate sex and gender in your work will be launched on this website in 2024.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us

Women scientist doing researches on coronavirus.

Why is it important to account
for sex and gender?

Sex and gender characteristics have a fundamental effect on health and illness, influencing the diseases and symptoms a person develops, their experience of that disease (including treatments available to them and possible side effects), and their overall outcomes. Currently, biomedical, health and care research does not adequately account for, and therefore understand, relevant sex and gender differences in disease.

There are number of reasons why there is critical need to understand these differences in research in the UK:

Scientific rigour

Understanding sex and gender differences increases the accuracy, translatability and reproducibility of research

Patient safety and
health outcomes

Clinical practice may be ineffective or actively harmful to patients if not enough is known about sex and gender differences in disease and treatment responses

Human rights and ethics

There is a moral imperative to ensure that biomedical research benefits all people in society and fulfills everyone’s right to health

Legal justification

Research that is not inclusive of all sexes and genders can constitute discrimination under the Equality Act 2010

Economic Impact

Poorer health outcomes, including from adverse drug reactions, that result from a lack of understanding of sex and gender differences translate into negative economic impacts at individual and population levels

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