HomeWashington Letter2015 ▶ NIH Releases Strategic Plan
NIH Releases Strategic Plan

December 2015

This week, the NIH released the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2016-2020: Turning Discovery Into Health.  The plan focuses on four objectives to help guide NIH's priorities over the next five years.  These objectives are:

  • Advancing opportunities in biomedical research in fundamental science, treatment and cures, and health promotion and disease prevention;

This section is broken down into 3 focus areas on fundamental science, treatments and cures and health promotion and prevention. The fundamental science section includes a listing of other federal research agency partners and their roles. The treatment and cures section features programs including the NICHD's Sudden Infant Death Syndrome campaign and the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program.

  • Fostering innovation by setting NIH priorities to enhance nimbleness, consider burden of disease and value of permanently eradicating a disease, and advancing research opportunities presented by rare diseases.

In this section, NIH reveals that the agency will enhance the transparency of its decision process by making public a standard metric for disease/research area funding each year. NIH will also harmonize approaches to decision-making by ensuring that the NIH's Institutes, Centers, and Offices' set their individual pay lines. The agency also reveals that the traditional 10% set-aside for HIV/AIDS research is being replaced with revised prioritization of research efforts in this area.

  • Enhancing scientific stewardship by recruiting and retaining an outstanding biomedical research workforce, enhancing workforce diversity and impact through partnerships, ensuring rigor and reproducibility, optimizing approaches to inform funding decisions, encouraging innovation, and engaging in proactive risk management practices; and
  • Excelling as a federal science agency by managing for results, by developing the "science of science," balancing outputs with outcomes, conducting workforce analyses, continually reviewing peer review, evaluating steps to enhance rigor and reproducibility, reducing administrative burden, and tracking effectiveness of risk management in decision making.

The plan states that over the next five years, the NIH leadership will evaluate the agency's progress in meeting the objectives laid out in the strategic plan.  The overall NIH strategic plan is designed to complement the ICOs' individual strategic plans that are aligned with their congressional mandated missions.

Last Reviewed: October 2017