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How This Report Is Organized

Chapter 1: About NIH

Chapter 1 opens with a statement from the Director of NIH providing an assessment of the state of biomedical and behavioral research. It then describes NIH structure, policies, and procedures. Focus is placed on the operations of the extramural and intramural research programs, mechanisms for strategic planning and various cross-cutting activities not covered in the chapters that follow, such as programs that provide the platform for discovery, including training and career development activities, and science literacy efforts.

Chapter 2: Overview of NIH Research

Chapter 2 provides an overview of the NIH research portfolio. The topics covered include:

  • Basic Research
  • Preclinical Translational Research
  • Clinical Research
  • Postclinical Translational Research
  • Clinical and Community Practice
  • Epidemiology – Identifying Public Health Needs
  • Infrastructure, Research Resources, and Technology Development
The chapter begins with a brief introduction to the continuum of biomedical research at NIH. The research continuum moves from basic research, to preclinical translational research, to clinical research, and finally to post-clinical translational research. As reflected by the last step of the continuum, NIH1 works to ensure the uptake of research results by clinical practitioners and the public in order to bring the rich evidence base of NIH research to bear on clinical and community practice, ultimately turning discovery into health. The introduction is followed by a more in-depth discussion of these stages of the bench-to-practice continuum at NIH, including information on the types of activities conducted at each stage across NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and the Office of the Director (OD).

Chapter 2 concludes with a discussion of some of the key factors that drive the NIH research continuum. Firstly, the importance of epidemiological research—which provides evidence on the association between disease and human biology, behavior, or environmental circumstances—is discussed. This is followed by a brief introduction to the importance of NIH investment in research resources, infrastructure, and the development of new technologies, without which progress along the research continuum would not be possible.

Chapter 3: NIH Research Activities in FY 2014 and FY 2015

Chapter 3 presents a cross-section of some of NIH’s research activities from the fiscal year (FY) 2014 and 2015 reporting period. Topics covered include:

  • Cancer
  • Neuroscience
  • Life Stages, Human Development, and Rehabilitation
  • Chronic Diseases and Organ Systems
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Infectious Diseases and Biodefense
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness
  • Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases
  • Microbiome
  • Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Research Resources and Infrastructure
These topics, many of which are categories specified in the PHS Act (see Appendix A), are grouped together in one chapter to address the intent of the statute, in terms of presenting information on diseases, disorders, and adverse health conditions in a standardized format. Each topic is addressed in a separate section.

Chapter 4: Centers of Excellence

Chapter 4 addresses certain NIH Centers of Excellence, which are diverse in focus, scope, and origin. The NIH Centers of Excellence described in this report are those established by statutory mandate, representing a subset of NIH’s full complement of such centers. This chapter provides overviews, progress reports for FY 2014 and 2015 (covering programmatic and research activities and outcomes), recommendations, evaluation plans, and future directions for the six congressionally mandated NIH Centers of Excellence programs, which are described in the order of their establishment:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (1984)
  • Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers (1989)
  • Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers (2001)
  • National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Centers of Excellence (2001)
  • Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (2003)
  • Autism Centers of Excellence (2006)


The appendices present reference documents and supporting data:

  • Appendix A provides excerpts from the PHS Act that set the legal mandate for this Biennial Report and the inclusion of certain content within it.
  • Appendix B provides the Report of the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health.
  • Appendix C provides the Common Fund Strategic Planning Report of 2015.
  • Appendix D lists the NIH ICs and OD offices, as well as providing links to the missions and strategic plans, where relevant. program offices.
  • Appendix E consists of data on the National Research Service Award program (the primary NIH research training program), the National Library of Medicine training programs, and NIH graduate medical education activities.
  • Appendix F provides the NIH report, Monitoring Adherence to the NIH Policy on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research.
  • Appendix G provides a catalog of disease registries and other data systems.
  • Appendix H provides information on actions undertaken to carry out scientific frameworks on recalcitrant cancer.
  • Appendix I includes NIH funding levels for chronic diseases and organ systems.
  • Appendix J contains a list of acronyms that are used in this Biennial Report.

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