New & Noteworthy
News Date: 
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New NIH Strategic Plan Launched

Alcohol biosensor research part of NIH's "bold vision" to advance biomedical opportunities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today released the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2016–2020: Turning Discovery Into Health, which will ensure the agency remains well positioned to capitalize on new opportunities for scientific exploration and address new challenges for human health. Developed after hearing from hundreds of stakeholders and scientific advisers, and in collaboration with leadership and staff of NIH’s Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs), the plan is designed to complement the ICOs’ individual strategic plans that are aligned with their congressionally mandated missions.

“Scientific and technological breakthroughs that have arisen from NIH-supported research account for many of the gains that the United States has seen in health and longevity,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “But much remains to be done. This strategic plan will guide our efforts to turn scientific discoveries into better health, while upholding our responsibility to be wise stewards of the resources provided by the American people.”

The plan focuses on four essential, interdependent objectives that will help guide NIH’s priorities over the next five years as it pursues its mission of seeking fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and applying that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The objectives are to:

  1. advance opportunities in biomedical research in fundamental science, treatment and cures, and health promotion and disease prevention;
  2. foster innovation by setting NIH priorities to enhance nimbleness, consider burden of disease and value of permanently eradicating a disease, and advance research opportunities presented by rare diseases;
  3. enhance 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
  4. excel 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.

To inform development of the strategic plan, NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., said NIH solicited input from a wide range of stakeholders through a Request for Information, which generated more than 450 responses; a series of interactive webinars, which attracted more than 750 participants; and meetings with 21 NIH advisory councils, including the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director.

The plan concludes with a bold vision for NIH, listing some specific achievements and advances that the agency will strive to deliver over the next five years.

Among the aspirations listed in the NIH news release is the following NIAAA initiative: "A wearable biosensor for monitoring blood-alcohol levels in real time will be developed and show efficacy for preventing alcohol-related injury and disease."

Read the entire news release visit http://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-unveils-fy2016-2020-strategic-plan, or visit the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan at http://www.nih.gov/about-nih/nih-strategic-plan.