The 27 NIH ICs are organized with a focus on and expertise in a specific disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes), an organ system (e.g., heart, eye), life stage (e.g., children, the aging population), an overarching field of science (e.g., human genome, nursing), or a technology (e.g., biomedical imaging, information technology). The ICs support research and research training through extramural activities and most also conduct research and research training through intramural activities.
The NIH Reform Act of 2006 reaffirmed certain organizational authorities of agency officials to: 1) establish or abolish national research institutes; 2) reorganize the offices within NIH OD; and 3) reorganize divisions, centers, or other administrative units within an NIH IC. The Act also mandated the establishment of a Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) to advise the NIH Director and other appropriate agency officials on the use of these organizational authorities, through reports to the NIH Director, at least once every 7 years. Also, any SMRB report that contemplates a specific organizational issue will be submitted to appropriate congressional committees. The SMRB held its first meeting in April 2009 and members were briefed on two topics put forth by senior NIH leadership for their consideration: 1) optimizing research at NIH into substance use, abuse, and addiction; and 2) whether organizational change within the NIH Clinical Center and/or the NIH intramural research program could further optimize those programs. The SMRB unanimously agreed to consider both topics through corresponding workgroups, and to form a workgroup to develop criteria for use in assessing whether specific organizational changes within NIH are warranted. The Board also is required by the NIH Reform Act to seek input from the public. The first two public forums were held in September and October 2009. Workgroup findings will be brought back to the full SMRB for deliberations at future meetings in FY 2010.
The Office of the Director (OD), NIH, is composed of several offices that provide expert advice to the NIH Director and his leadership team, coordinate policy across the NIH research community, and administer centralized support services essential to the NIH mission. With 229 government-owned buildings in 6 locations, the facilities infrastructure maintained by the NIH Office of Research Facilities is the literal foundation for a successful research program. The facilities necessary to support 21st century science are far more sophisticated than yesterday’s bricks, mortar, pipes, and lines. From biosafety to a secure and robust information technology infrastructure, the requirements of today’s research create greater demands for a safe, healthy, and functional environment for employees and patients.
The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) provides the corporate framework for NIH administration of research grants and contracts, ensuring scientific integrity, public accountability, and effective stewardship of the NIH extramural research portfolio. Offices within OER include the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration, the Office of Extramural Programs, the Office of Research Information Systems, and the Office of Administrative Operations. The Office of Intramural Research (OIR) is responsible for oversight and coordination of intramural research conducted within NIH laboratories and clinics. Offices within OIR include the Office of Intramural Training and Education, the Office of Technology Transfer, the Office of Human Subjects Protection, and the Office of Animal Care and Use. (Also see the section in this chapter on Extramural and Intramural Research Programs for more information regarding OER and OIR).
The OD Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) was established by mandate of the NIH Reform Act of 2006. DPCPSI’s role is to identify emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, and scientific knowledge gaps that merit further research; assist NIH in effectively addressing identified areas; and develop and apply resources (databases, analytic tools, and methodologies) that will support priority setting and analyses of the NIH portfolio.In addition, DPCPSI manages the NIH Demonstration Projects in High Risk/High Reward Research—an initiative to test new ways of fostering innovation that also was authorized through the Reform Act. Finally, DPCPSI plans, supports, and provides technical assistance for NIH-wide program and project evaluations and manages NIH planning and reporting required by the Government Performance and Results Act and other government-wide performance assessment endeavors. (Also see the section on NIH Strategic Planning and the NIH Roadmap and Common Fund later in this chapter). DPCPSI now incorporates the functions of the former Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives. The primary components within DPCPSI are the Office of Strategic Coordination, which manages the NIH Common Fund (including the Roadmap), and the four OD program offices—the Office of AIDS Research, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, the Office of Disease Prevention, and the Office of Research on Women’s Health. Within the Office of Disease Prevention are three offices covering the areas of dietary supplements, rare diseases research, and medical applications of research. The OD program offices fund research using IC award-making authorities. Often, ICs partner with a program office to supplement their funding for a specific program or project.
Other OD offices that advise the NIH Director, develop NIH policy, and provide essential NIH-wide oversight and coordination include the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, the Office of Science Policy, the Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis, the Office of Management, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, the NIH Ethics Office, and the Office of the Chief Information Officer. The policies and activities of some of these offices are highlighted in later sections of this chapter.
Following is a list of NIH ICs and select OD program offices linked to the home page on the respective websites. The ICs are presented in the order in which they appear on the appropriation table in the Congressional Justification. Appendix B provides brief descriptions of the missions of the ICs and OD program offices and live links to IC and office strategic plans. The mission statements and strategic plans provided in Appendix B classify and justify NIH priorities. Historical information about NIH, including the establishment of the categorical Institutes, Centers, and specialized offices, is maintained by the NIH Office of History, a component of OIR that preserves records of significant NIH achievements, innovative exhibits, and educational programs to enhance understanding of NIH biomedical and behavioral research.