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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

December 10, 2004

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—August 12, 2004

Discussion Item

I. System for Enterprise Records and Correspondence Handling (SERCH)

After thanking Dr. Kington and Dr. Zerhouni for their support of this cutting-edge document and records management project, Star Kline, NIH SERCH project officer, cited its support of Goal 4 of the President’s Management Agenda (Expanded Electronic Government) and Goal 6 of the “One HHS” Management Objectives (Administrative Efficiencies).

Scheduled to be implemented in 2005, SERCH will replace, at no cost to ICs or OD Offices, the NIH Executive Secretariat’s eFlow system that currently transmits ES-controlled documents electronically to trans-NIH correspondence contacts. After its implementation at NIH in May 2005, OS will then implement it HHS-wide to transmit OS-controlled documents to HHS Operating and Staff Divisions by June.

The system will

  • provide document tracking, records management, imaging, OCR, and workflow functions;
  • comply with the National Archives electronic records system requirements;
  • enable digital and electronic signatures and clearances;
  • comply with Section 508 accessibility requirements;
  • provide extensive search and report capabilities; and
  • be expandable, if desired, to further use within ICs and OD Offices.

Ms. Kline has briefed numerous trans-NIH groups ranging from ES Correspondence Contacts and IC and OD Records Management Officers to OD Senior Staff and NIH Executive Officers as well as various budget and IT fora. She has worked and is available to work further with OD and IC staff on user needs and training opportunities.

Again stressing that SERCH will transmit ES documents to and receive them back from IC and OD Office correspondence contacts without any costs to users, she noted that the system has been carefully planned to allow ICs, OD Offices, and sub-entities of HHS OP Divs and Staff Divs to expand it internally for their own specific document creation, records system, document search, and other administrative needs. She closed saying she would be pleased to meet with IC and OD staff to discuss how SERCH might be efficacious to their specific internal needs.* Ms. Kline can be reached at klines@mail.nih.gov.

* As of November 22, Ms. Kline has met with representatives of 14 ICs and 7 OD Offices.

II. Revision of Peer Review Criteria

Dr. Robert Star, Senior Advisor for Clinical Research, OSPP, noted that a January 2003 Roadmap Clinical Research Summit recommendation called for improved review of clinical research applications. The Trans-NIH Clinical Research Workforce Committee, chaired by Dr. Alexander, produced an initial draft of proposed revisions to the Guide for Reviewers’ Preliminary Comments on Research Applications for any Investigator-Initiated Grant in spring 2004 that was refined and improved by the EPMC and RPC and in consultation with the 30 study section chairs. The EPMC approved the final proposed revisions in June 2004. Dr. Star explained that the revised changes were developed so as to:

  • allow single NIH review criteria for all clinical and basic research applications,
  • ensure a rigorous and fair review of all applications,
  • target both reviewers and applicants,
  • incorporate minimal changes to the current review criteria,
  • use the same three-sentence form, and
  • be modifiable by RFAs.

If the revisions are approved by the IC Directors, they are scheduled to be implemented January 1, 2005, for the October 2005 Council Round. The RPC will coordinate the implementation and ensure communication with the reviewers and applicants by way of the following:

  • a Guide Announcement, news flash, and Web site,
  • additions to boilerplate for RFAs and PAs, and
  • changes to form 398 and its Web site.

Training will also be provided to CSR and IC SRAs and reviewers and follow-up evaluation ensured by surveys of reviewers, NIH staff, and possibly PIs.

After a motion to accept, the group unanimously approved the proposed revisions and plan for implementation.

III. Translational Research Core Services

Dr. Briggs, co-chair with Dr. Straus of the implementation group of the NIH Roadmap’s Reengineering the Clinical Research Enterprise, proposed plans for an initiative that would give applicants access to centralized contract resources and expertise. The Translational Research Core Services effort would not be a grant program but rather would give researchers access to such NIH resources. It will likely be modeled on or may evolve through expansion of the National Cancer Institute's Rapid Access to Innovation Development program, which currently provides such resources to the cancer research community. The current proposal is for a limited pilot in FY 2005 for development of therapeutic agents, using existing NCI/DTP infrastructure and expertise.

IV. Public Access Publishing Update

Dr. Zerhouni said that he wants to learn as much as possible about all aspects of the issue and will be holding meetings with outside groups to discuss.

Dale Johnson
cc: OD Senior Staff

This page last reviewed on January 11, 2011

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