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Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2024-2028

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Introduction to the Strategic Plan

Updated: 2024

Structure of the Strategic Plan

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2024–2028 describes research goals, themes, and programs that support the NIAAA mission. These goals also support the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: Fiscal Years 2023–2027, as well as complement other National Institutes of Health (NIH) strategic plans and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiatives.

Four research goals represent long-standing pillars of NIAAA-supported research. Cross-cutting research themes represent high-priority concepts and emergent research opportunities that cut across the four research goals. Cross-cutting research programs describe coordinated programs with elements that span the four research goals. In addition to conducting and funding research, NIAAA has established capacity and operational priorities toward sustaining robust research capabilities, practicing good scientific stewardship, and strengthening the reach and impact of NIAAA-supported research.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Mission

NIAAA’s mission is to generate and disseminate fundamental knowledge about the adverse effects of alcohol on health and well-being and to apply that knowledge to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol-related problems, including alcohol use disorder (AUD), across the life span.

Today, NIAAA is the world’s largest funder of alcohol research. NIAAA provides leadership in the national effort to reduce alcohol-related problems by:

  • Conducting and supporting alcohol-related research in a wide range of scientific areas, including neuroscience and behavior, epidemiology and prevention, treatment and recovery, and metabolism and health effects
  • Coordinating and collaborating with other research institutes and federal programs on alcohol-related issues
  • Collaborating with institutions (including international, national, state, and local), organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work
  • Translating and disseminating research findings to health care providers, researchers, policymakers, and the public

Statutory Authority

As established by the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970, NIAAA’s mission is to “develop and conduct comprehensive health, education, training, research, and planning programs for the prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.” Visit the History of NIAAA webpage to learn more about NIAAA’s major milestones.

Institute Organization

NIAAA is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, a component of HHS. NIH is the foremost federal agency for funding biomedical research in the United States.

NIAAA’s organizational structure includes the Office of the Director, which sets research, programmatic, and institute-wide priorities in collaboration with NIAAA offices and research divisions. NIAAA offices include the Office of Extramural Activities, the Office of Science Policy and Communications, and the Office of Resource Management. NIAAA’s intramural research division, the Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, conducts cutting-edge alcohol research and promotes research training. NIAAA’s four extramural research divisions—the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects, the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, and the Division of Treatment and Recovery—develop, plan, and coordinate multidisciplinary research and research training in a wide range of scientific areas essential to NIAAA’s mission.

Strategic Planning Process

NIAAA’s strategic planning process considers the long-term priorities of the field while remaining flexible to adapt to emerging public health needs and scientific opportunities. It also considers a dynamic balance of basic, translational, and clinical research relevant to NIAAA’s broad mission. Although NIAAA engages in formal strategic planning, the institute continually assesses and refines priorities as the science and public health landscape evolves.

Strategic Plan 2022-2026 progress

To initiate its strategic planning process, NIAAA formed a strategic plan working group comprising staff from the NIAAA Office of Science Policy and Communications in 2020. This group convened meetings with NIAAA leadership and all NIAAA offices and divisions to develop an overall framework for the new strategic plan. Additionally, two listening sessions were held with extramural and intramural staff to provide input on the process and utility of the strategic plan. These sessions were followed by meetings with each NIAAA research division, which was asked to identify research needs and opportunities related to its scientific areas. Their feedback, with input from NIAAA leadership, formed the basis of an outline representing the draft strategic plan framework.

A request for information (RFI) inviting public comment on the draft framework was issued in 2021. RFI responses were received from researchers, advocacy groups, professional societies, and others. The results were summarized in a report to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in September 2021. The outline was refined based on the RFI feedback and Council input and was followed by writing of the strategic plan in consultation with NIAAA leadership, offices, and research divisions.

The final NIAAA Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2024–2028 represents a collaborative effort of NIAAA leadership, NIAAA staff across the institute, and the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Strategic Plan Implementation and Monitoring

Over the next five years, NIAAA will monitor progress on its goals and research priorities. NIAAA’s ability to pursue its research goals and priorities is supported by its commitment to building a robust research capacity and serving as a responsible steward of the public’s investment. This strategic plan is a living document that is responsive to public health challenges as well as to changes in the scientific landscape.

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