New Roadmap Emphasis Areas for 2008
The Roadmap Begins
Soon after becoming the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in May 2002, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. convened a series of meetings to chart a "roadmap" for medical research in the 21st century. Since its inception, the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research has been an “incubator space” for programs that, due to their cross-cutting relevance and/or complexity, warrant concerted attention from NIH as a whole. The initiatives have been jointly funded by all Institutes and Centers (ICs) via the NIH Common Fund, and all of the initiatives are collectively planned and administered by trans-NIH teams.
The First Initiatives
After considerable consultation with internal and external communities, NIH funded the first set of Roadmap Initiatives in fiscal year 2004. The activities that emerged from this first group of initiatives are deepening our understanding of biology, stimulating interdisciplinary research teams, and reshaping clinical research. The reshaping of the clinical research enterprise is intended to accelerate medical discovery, increase the number of clinician scientists, and enhance the participation of communities of clinicians in clinical research.
Out from the Incubator
This first cohort of Roadmap initiatives will gradually transition out of the “incubator space” by fiscal year 2014. To draw new projects into the incubator, NIH began a process of soliciting new ideas for the next set of Roadmap trans-NIH strategic initiatives for funding consideration in fiscal year 2008.
Criteria for New Roadmap Initiatives
Recognizing that the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) frequently and regularly collaborate to fund research, the IC Directors established special criteria for initiatives to be funded via the Roadmap. The criteria that potential Roadmap initiatives must meet are as follows:
The New Idea Solicitation Process
Through the summer and fall of 2006, NIH solicited ideas for initiatives that meet these criteria from: (1) external panels of scientific consultants; (2) from the internal NIH community and, (3) from the broad stakeholder communities
The Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI) Facilitates the Process
To facilitate the prioritization of ideas, OPASI coordinated a programmatic review of the submitted ideas concerning their responsiveness to the criteria. In addition, to further inform the decision-making process, OPASI and the ICs worked together to provide a preliminary assessment of the currently funded portfolio of research related to several of the broad areas highlighted by the ideas.
Informed by this analysis and following extensive scientific discussion, the IC Directors selected thirteen broad areas that will undergo further concept development over the upcoming months. During concept development, these broad areas will be refinedinto specific initiatives, keeping in mind the Roadmap criteria. Although these areas are very broad and many possible initiatives may be envisioned, those that move forward will be expected to have a transformative impact on the way science is conducted.
The IC Directors have selected five topics to be developed for further consideration as Major Roadmap Initiative Proposals:
Also, the IC Directors recognized that other concepts highlighted through the idea nomination process are potentially important. However, they are not appropriate at this time for selection as major Roadmap Initiatives. These areas were designated for development through smaller pilot studies proposals:
More Opportunities for Trans-NIH Coordination
In addition, other areas of research that were not selected for further development as potential Major Roadmap Initiative Proposals were highlighted as areas where additional information would be useful in determining next steps. The Roadmap idea gathering phase highlighted issues within each of these areas that the ICs may need to address, but more information concerning the current research portfolio and efforts to coordinate activities in these areas is needed. The question to be determined is whether current administration of research in these areas is optimally coordinated or whether additional efforts are needed. Therefore, Roadmap Coordination groups will assess current efforts in the following areas, and if deemed necessary, will propose activities that the NIH may undertake to foster collaborations across organ systems or disease areas:
Planning for the Future
Finally, the Roadmap idea nomination process highlighted areas where broad strategic thinking and planning are needed to fully address the needs expressed by the community. For these areas, groups will work with members of the broad community over the course of several months to articulate a coherent plan that could involve possibly restructuring of existing programs, assessing the efficacy of different types of programs, or development of new initiatives. These Roadmap Strategic Planning Activities will be focused on the following topics:
Determining Funding Priorities
Plans for each of the above will be developed over the next few months with input from a Council of Councils which will be an Advisory Council composed of members from Advisory Councils for all ICs and from the Council of Public Representatives. The plans will then be reviewed by IC Directors in order to determine Roadmap funding priorities beginning in fiscal years 2008 and 2009.
These plans will receive final review and priority recommendations in late Spring, 2007 by the IC Directors before being forwarded to the NIH Director, who will consult with the Advisory Committee to the Director before selecting the new Roadmap initiatives in Summer/Fall 2007.
Announcing ResultsNIH anticipates posting a description of the new initiatives as well updates on Coordination and Strategic Planning activities on our website (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov) at that time.