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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

June 28, 2001

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—May 31, 2001


I. Community Consultation: Meeting Report and Follow-up

Dr. Judith Greenberg, NIGMS, explained that the First Community Consultation on the Responsible Collection and Use of Samples for Genetic Research took place on September 25 and 26, 2000, attended by lay people from diverse communities, non-NIH scientists, and NIH staff. The meeting was prompted by some groups' concerns about the storage of tissue samples from people who are identified based on their race or ethnicity. On the other hand, such samples are very valuable to investigators, who want the cell repository that NIGMS funds to collect more population-based samples. Dr. Greenberg reviewed the major outcomes of the meeting, including numerous specific recommendations. The lay participants had many fears and concerns and a general lack of knowledge about genetics. In general, communities want greater respect from researchers and from the NIH, greater opportunities to provide input into research projects and to learn of research results, and an ongoing involvement and interactive partnership with researchers and the NIH. The community consultation ended with the feeling that NIH had listened and a hope that it would follow up. Dr. Greenberg listed a number of follow-up actions and their status. Dr. Greenberg is chairing an EPMC subcommittee on community consultation, on which most ICs are represented; the subcommittee plans to draft a "points to consider" document to guide investigators who plan genetics studies. She clarified that the subcommittee will not draft new regulations nor will it require investigators to obtain community consent.

A lively discussion followed. Several IC Directors pointed out that there is no one community that represents, for example, all Hispanics or all African-Americans. Dr. Hyman said that thinking of minority groups this way creates a dangerous abstraction. Dr. Klausner said there are profound implications of overlaying the ethics of medical research onto "the community." NIEHS documents state that it consults "the American people" rather than lumping them into groups. Dr. Greenberg clarified that the EPMC subcommittee has limited itself to genetics studies involving identified communities and aims to be thought-provoking rather than prescriptive. Dr. Baldwin said that she asked Dr. Greenberg to form the subcommittee in order to share information that already exists in individual ICs about working with communities. The group expressed a strong preference against lumping people into groups. Dr. Kirschstein asked IC Directors to talk to their representatives to this subcommittee in preparation for further discussion at a future IC Directors' meeting.

II. NIH IT Enterprise Funding

Ms. Pine reviewed the process the workgroup used to research options and the key principles the group developed. The group recommended three funding strategies:

  1. NIH should create a modest IT Enterprise System Innovation Fund as a separate account in the SSF to support the preliminary design phase of new or replacement IT enterprise systems.
  2. NIH should establish an IT Software Development Investment Fund in a separate account in the SSF to support software development costs for IT enterprise systems.
  3. NIH should support post-implementation operations and maintenance costs during each system's years of use with direct SSF or Management Fund assessments.

The CIT Board of Governors (BOG) and the FARB have endorsed these funding strategies. Ms. Pine reported that Mr. Lanman approved this plan; Dr. Kirschstein asked Mr. Itteilag to get that approval in writing. If either the Enterprise System Innovation Fund or the Software Development Investment Fund needs replenishing, the BOG would recommend the amount needed to the FARB, which would review the request and send its recommendation to the IC Directors. Ms. Pine explained that when each system's multi-year plan is approved by the BOG and the FARB, as well as by the IC Directors, the money approved in total is committed to that system for the five-year period. In a particular year the CIO will have the authority to move money among systems based on their individual needs and progress. However, the overall five-year total for each system is committed and will not be reduced. Dr. Hyman suggested renaming the innovation fund the planning/development fund. Mr. Itteilag noted that the software development fund can be funded by any mechanism. He also said the people who review our budget need to be apprised of this plan. The group endorsed this plan for implementation in FY 2002.

III. Information Items

Dr. Klausner is concerned about the broad issue of the nature of financial information that we provide to peer reviewers and the recommendations about funding that the peer reviewers provide to the ICs. NCI is seeing a huge increase in large grants for which the reviewers provide no budget guidance. He said there is a disconnect between the peer review process and the funding levels; as a result, NIH is losing oversight and the cost of grants is increasing significantly. Dr. Baldwin agreed that the number of large grants is increasing and that modular grants (up to $250,000) are in the middle of a linear increase. She added that what reviewers do on large grants and on modular grants merit separate discussions. Dr. Kirschstein said she would schedule discussions on these topics at a future IC Directors' meeting. Dr. Hyman noted the need to collect information from NIH's point of view, and Dr. Battey said it is important to look at how average costs are calculated and presented. Dr. Kirschstein mentioned that modular grants will be discussed at the June 7 ACD meeting.

Dr. Kirschstein distributed rosters for several groups. The Post-Doubling Budget Smooth-Out Work Group will be chaired by Dr. Lenfant. Dr. Baldwin will chair a subgroup on modeling. Dr. Leshner and Mr. Graeff will co-chair the Restructuring Committee. Dr. Kirschstein will convene both the Restructuring Committee and the Post-Doubling Budget Smooth-Out Work Group very shortly. Mr. Itteilag explained that the Restructuring Committee will include subgroups on human resources, legislation, public affairs, education, IT, acquisition, and a general subcommittee.

Dr. Kirschstein noted that a photographer for Science magazine took photographs of today's meeting for an upcoming article.

Dr. Kirschstein distributed copies of potential topics for the 2001 Leadership Forum. She asked for feedback on whether the pre-meeting for the IOM study on NIH should be a topic for the Forum. The report is due one year after a new NIH Director is appointed. The IOM would like to receive the funds (which will come from NIH's evaluation set-aside) for this study now and to begin a preliminary study of NIH, its history, etc.

Dr. Kirschstein reminded the group of the June 7 ACD meeting. She will send IC Directors the report of the construction committee, which she said is very global and has implications for everyone. She would like to discuss it with IC Directors after the ACD meeting.

Dr. Kirschstein sent forward to the Secretary a memo requesting exemptions to the hiring freeze, including national advisory council members. She noted that the Deputy Secretary, Claude A. Allen, and the HCFA Administrator, Tom Scully, have been confirmed.

Dr. Battey circulated a Science article, "Workforce Alternatives to Graduate Students?"

Dr. Kramer said OS wants to emphasize prevention in the FY 2003 budget. He is trying to get more details on what is needed.

Dr. Sieving will begin working as Director, NEI, in mid-June.

Dr. Kirschstein is waiting for OS approval to appoint the new OEO Director.

Karen Pelham O'Steen
cc: OD Staff

This page last reviewed on September 28, 2011

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