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Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2024-2028

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Goal 1: Building a Robust Research Capacity

Updated: 2024

NIAAA’s ability to pursue its research priorities is supported by the commitment to building and sustaining a robust research capacity. At the core of NIAAA’s efforts to build research capacity are cultivating a talented and diverse scientific and administrative workforce to advance research to the next frontier and maximizing NIAAA research resources and infrastructure to promote discovery.

Objective 1: Enhancing and Sustaining the Alcohol Research Workforce

The workforce of the alcohol research enterprise is its greatest asset and the key to its success. Cultivating and sustaining a robust, highly skilled, and diverse scientific and administrative workforce is a major NIAAA priority. A thriving workforce enables NIAAA and the alcohol research enterprise to effectively adapt to change, tackle complex challenges, and make use of emergent opportunities in a rapidly evolving research landscape. Additionally, supporting a diverse workforce that includes historically underrepresented populations enables the research to be informed by a wide range of perspectives and to capitalize on the full range of talent in the nation. Research suggests that diversity promotes creativity and fosters scientific innovation.

Sustained scientific progress requires investment in the next generation of researchers. NIAAA will continue to prioritize research training and career development programs that foster a talented biomedical workforce for today and for the future. To strengthen its training programs, NIAAA will focus on:

  • Expanding outreach about NIAAA and NIH research training programs and opportunities to diverse communities and early-stage investigators
  • Collaborating with NIH partners on training funding opportunities that advance the alcohol research workforce
  • Developing and implementing best practices for NIAAA’s research training programs
  • Identifying strategies to assess training outcomes

NIAAA’s intramural research training program will also continue to provide robust training opportunities to emerging scientists from all backgrounds.

Internally, NIAAA will continue to maintain a strong leadership team, enhance efforts to effectively leverage the strengths of NIAAA staff, provide training and career development opportunities to develop their skills and talents, and cultivate a positive and collaborative environment that embraces change and upholds the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Objective 2: Supporting Research Resources and Infrastructure

The scientific workforce’s ability to advance biomedical and behavioral research depends on access to state-of-the-art resources and infrastructure that maximize their research potential.

NIAAA supports Alcohol Research Centers across the United States that serve as regional or national research resources and as incubators for collaborative studies that contribute to the development of new research methods, technologies, and approaches that sustain innovative goal-directed research. These centers have historically served as seeds for the development of researchers in the alcohol research field in diverse geographical regions that have limited ongoing alcohol research. NIAAA also supports research consortia, which conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research among widely distributed research institutions. NIAAA-supported research centers and consortia serve as models for optimizing research resources and infrastructure, and as resources for data, biospecimens, tools, expertise, and training in the alcohol research field more broadly. NIAAA’s Alcohol Research Resource (R24 and R28) Awards program supports investigator-initiated projects that develop research resources for the broader alcohol research community and represent NIAAA efforts to accelerate alcohol-related research in a cost-effective manner.

NIAAA’s Intramural Research Program (IRP) provides a unique environment for stimulating cutting-edge, innovative basic, translational, and clinical research on alcohol use disorder (AUD) and other alcohol-related problems. This includes a clinical research facility on the NIH main campus that hosts an outpatient clinic and an inpatient unit for treatment and research. The NIAAA IRP’s ability to generate groundbreaking technologies and advances to be shared for use by the alcohol research field is a particular strength of the program.

To promote data sharing and accelerate the pace of discovery, NIAAA established the NIAAA Data Archive, which houses and shares de-identified data from human participants in NIAAA-funded research. The NIAAA Data Archive is maintained within the larger NIMH Data Archive, which comprises a harmonization and sharing infrastructure that facilitates transparency, rigor, and reproducibility of scientific research.

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