NIH asks stakeholders to comment on its strategic plan framework

Online comments are due by August 16, 2015.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is requesting input from stakeholders – including psychological scientists --  on its strategic plan framework. Comments can be submitted electronically at the NIH-wide Strategic Plan RFI Submission website.

The NIH framework “identifies areas of opportunity that apply across biomedicine [which includes behavioral and social sciences] and unifying principles to guide NIH in supporting the biomedical research enterprise. The aim is to exemplify the breadth of ICO [Institute, Center and Office] priorities by identifying major cross-cutting themes. The myriad of important research opportunities for specific disease applications are covered in individual strategic plans from each ICO, and thus will not be the focus of this larger NIH-wide Strategic Plan.”                                                                                                        

The framework includes an introduction, unifying principles to guide the NIH in pursuit of its mission, and the following areas of opportunity:

  •  Fundamental Science
  •  Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Treatment and Cures

Respondents may comment with up to 300 words on each of the following issues/questions:

  • Potential benefits, drawbacks/challenges, and areas of consideration for the current framework;
  • Compatibility of the framework with the broad scope of the NIH mission;
  • Additional concepts in ICO (institute, center, office) strategic plans that are cross-cutting and should be included in this trans- NIH strategic plan;
  • Comprehensive trans-NIH research themes that have not been captured in the Areas of Opportunity That Apply Across Biomedicine;
  • Components of the Areas of Opportunity That Apply Across Biomedicine that are not applicable to an NIH-wide strategic plan;
  • Future opportunities or emerging research needs.

There are good reasons why psychological scientists should examine and comment on this framework for the NIH strategic plan. NIH has not had an overall strategic plan since the mid-1990s. The priorities outlined in this new plan may have a dramatic effect on funding in the future. If the behavioral and social sciences are not well represented in the final plan, members of Congress or others could argue, with justification, that other research is more important.

The American Psychological Association will submit comments before the August 16 deadline.  If you have suggestions for points to be included in APA’s comments, please send them to Pat Kobor at the APA Science Government Relations Office.