Biennial Report of the Director

About NIH
Overview of NIH Structure and Organization 

NIH is the primary federal agency for leading, conducting, and supporting biomedical and behavioral research. Composed of the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers, NIH employs approximately 18,000 people and is the steward of a $30 billion budget (FY 2011). The leadership and financial support NIH provides to biomedical, behavioral, and social science researchers extends throughout our nation and the world.

Institutes and Centers. 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, environmental health), or a technology (e.g., biomedical imaging, bioengineering, information technology). The ICs support research and research training through extramural activities, and most also conduct research and research training through intramural activities.

Office of the Director (OD). The OD is composed of several offices that provide expert advice to the NIH Director and his leadership team. It coordinates policy across the NIH research community and administers centralized support services essential to the NIH mission.

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, Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration, Office of Extramural Programs, Office of Research Information Systems, Office of Planning and Communication, and 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, Office of Technology Transfer, Office of Human Subjects Research, and the Office of Animal Care and Use.

The role of the OD Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) 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, which was also authorized through the Reform Act. Lastly, DPCPSI plans, supports, and provides technical assistance for NIH program evaluations and manages NIH planning and reporting that are required by the Government Performance and Results Act and other government-wide performance assessment activities. The program offices within DPCPSI are the Office of Strategic Coordination, which manages the NIH Common Fund, the Office of AIDS Research (OAR), the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP), and the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP).12

The NIH Common Fund was enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act to support cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by at least two NIH ICs or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. The requirements for the Common Fund encourage collaboration across the ICs while providing the NIH with flexibility to determine priorities for Common Fund support. To date, the Common Fund has been used to support a series of short term, exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs

NIH Common Fund programs are intended to be:

DPCPSI also manages four OD program offices—OAR, OBSSR, ODP, and ORWH. The Office of Dietary Supplements is a component within the ODP. The OD program offices fund research using IC award-making authorities. ICs often partner with one of these program offices to supplement their funding for a specific program or project.

The OAR coordinates the scientific, budgetary, legislative, and policy elements of the NIH AIDS research program. OAR sets scientific priorities, enhances collaboration, and ensures that research dollars are invested in the highest priority areas of scientific opportunity that will lead to new tools in the global fight against AIDS.

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.

ICs and OD offices. The following is a list of NIH ICs and select OD program offices 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 links to their 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.

12 On December 23, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus Appropriations bill. As a result of this legislation, some of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) programs and the NIH Office of Science Education were transferred to the new Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP), DPCPSI, OD, NIH.  ORIP directly funds research through a separate award authority from those used by ICs.

Institutes and Centers

13On December 23, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, which dissolved NCRR and established the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

Office of the Director