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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

January 14, 2010

To: IC Directors
From: Penny Burgoon
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—January 14, 2010

Discussion Items

CLOSED Session: Discussion on the NIH Budget

Today's Institute and Center Directors Meeting began with a closed session to discuss the current fiscal climate and the NIH Budget.

OPEN Session: Update on Science Advances: Francis Collins

Dr. Collins acknowledged the significant efforts of the ICs and the Office of Science Policy (OSP) to collect science advances. NIH posts advances in various forms such as press releases, but would like to disseminate this material more widely and put it to greater use. One new effort will be to identify an "Advance of the Month" (selected by the NIH Director) which could be highlighted on the NIH Homepage and culminated with a Washington Press event recognizing the year's selected Science Advances and their principal investigators, stakeholders from advocacy groups and Congress.

The details regarding the format of the Science Advance submissions are being modified but will include a brief profile of the principal investigators. IC Directors discussed other ways to publicize this information, such as by radio broadcast or on Institute and Center websites. OSP was encouraged to consider highlighting the Science Advances on a more frequent interval.

Working with the National Academies: Challenges and Opportunities: Lana Skirboll, OD/DPCPSI

The NIH Office of Science Policy manages a contract with the National Academy of Sciences (Academies) that enables NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices to fund Academies activities that support the NIH mission. This centralized contract allows NIH to issue task orders, which can be added to the existing contract, thus avoiding the creation of a new contract for each task. The Academies, in turn, provides independent advice on issues of concern or opportunity to the NIH. The NIH has initiated most task orders for the contract; but the Academies, Congress, and DHHS have also initiated several activities. The NIH also funds several ongoing and core support groups such as the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy; the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research; and the Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine.

For this investment, the NIH benefits from the expertise and prestige of the National Academies, and the Academies maintain sufficient separation from both the government and private industry to provide independent results. However, several challenges have arisen: the Academies sometime do not address the specific charge stated in the task order, deliverables are sometimes not submitted on time, and various divisions of the Academies submit duplicate or similar proposals.

To manage the contract more efficiently, the following protocols were agreed upon:

  • If an IC solicits work from the Academies, the IC will be responsible for garnering any additional support from other ICs.
  • If the Academies propose a mission specific proposal to an IC, the IC will discuss it with the OD.
  • If the Academies propose a NIH-wide topic to an IC, the IC will refer it to the OD.

This page last reviewed on September 14, 2011

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