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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

November 9, 2006

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—September 28, 2006

Discussion Items

I. NIH Competitive Sourcing Green Plan

Ms. Barros began by stating that she and Ms. Servis were reporting on the results of the negotiations with HHS/OMB regarding the NIH A-76 Strategic Plan for FY 2006-2008. She stressed that the objective of the negotiations was to mitigate the impact of A-76 on the NIH mission while meeting the requirements of the President’s Management Agenda. NIH has learned some lessons from previous studies such as:

  • The lack of local control and lack of flexibility to shift resources to meet changing priorities has had a negative impact on the NIH mission.
  • Gaps in coverage and shifting large amounts of work load to scientific and professional staff and results in hidden costs.

Ms. Barros reported that prior to the A-76 Plan, 1580 FTEs were included in the NIH commercial inventory to be studied for potential outsourcing. The new plan reduces that number to 428 FTEs (27 percent) as commercial competitive; 402 FTEs (25 percent) that will be potentially outsourced as the positions become vacant; 172 FTEs (11 percent) that require further justification to support moving them to a non-commercial category; and 578 FTEs (37 percent) that are no longer subject to competition. All positions moved to commercial core are administrative support functions.

Ms. Servis ended the presentation with the following conclusions:

  • This is a major step forward for the NIH.
  • This is a mission-focused plan based on a mission analysis.
  • Local control of administrative support positions is maintained.
  • This approved plan covers FY2006 – FY2008.
  • Every permanent NIH Federal employee will have a job.
  • Transition Services will be available for impacted employees.
  • The approved NIH A-76 Strategic Plan supports the President’s Management Agenda.
  • The NIH continues to maintain “green” status and progress ratings from the HHS/OMB.

II. NIH Energy Conservation Plan

Ms. Barros began by stating that the energy conservation plan was driven by several factors such as Federal laws and directives that include the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and a new draft EO combining previous energy and environmental EOs that strengthens the commitment to energy conservation. It was also driven by the following:

  • Presidential Memorandum on Federal Agencies Energy and Fuel Conservation
  • White House MOU with the Department on high performance buildings
  • OMB Energy Scorecard that includes specific goals
  • HHS goals and supporting the directives

The new OMB Scorecards address energy, the environment, and transportation. Ms. Barros reports that not only are the NIH and NIHAC energy costs going up, but also the energy use is going up as we increase the number of buildings. She also discussed many of the ongoing facility improvement energy conservation activities occurring that are transparent to staff such as purchasing utilities in bulk and improving the interior integrity of buildings.

Ms. Barros then outlined the facility energy plan that will require active support of the NIH leadership and will include —

  • Lowering/raising room thermostats by 2° in the winter/summer.
  • Setting thermostats at night to 55° during the winter and 78° during the summer.
  • Raising chilled water supply temperature during the summer.

The temperature control plan will include four phases, will be phased in over several years, and will cost $11.1 million to implement across all NIH Bethesda buildings. However, the potential cost off-sets will be around $3.7 million per year.

The impact on the NIH community will include less optimal heating/cooling space for offices and labs, however, the process heating/cooling will not be affected; there will be no anticipated changes to current animal space building temperatures, except for administrative and common areas; and there is no change anticipated in patient care areas.

Ms. Barros then described the implementation steps included in Phase I that will conclude with evaluating the savings achieved with Phase I.

Several suggestions were mentioned by the group including —

  • Investing staff by creating a user group that looks at possible energy saving efforts.
  • Providing awards to staff that produce proven savings in energy conservation.

III. FNIH Biomarkers Consortium Update

Dr. Skirboll shared the goals and objectives of the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium. It is a partnership among industry, FDA, NIH, and other key stakeholders and the goals and objectives include —

  • Promoting the discovery, development, and qualification of biomarkers.
  • Speeding research.
  • Ensuring that safe, innovative, and effective new medicines and diagnostics are expeditiously developed to address healthcare needs, improve medical care, and improve public health.

The governing structure consists of an Executive Committee (EC), steering committees (SC), and project teams. She then reviewed the Biomarkers Consortium policies reminding all that FNIH is not the NIH, particularly how that applies to consortium. However, for NIH and NIH employees all policies under the BC must conform with federal statutes and NIH policies. These policies cover IP and data sharing, antitrust considerations, grantee/contractor selection, confidentiality, and conflict of interest.

The founding partners are the decision makers and the following apply:

  • Any founding partner (NIH, FDA, industry) can veto any project.
  • All projects need assent from all 3 founding partners.
  • NIH assent requires identification of a “lead” IC for each project.
  • Industry can also veto by not providing financial support for a project.

The approval checkpoints include both the project concept approval and the project plan approval. Once the project has gone through these steps the FNIH Board reviews and provides the final sign-off.

Dr. Skirboll then discussed the contributions of each partner:

  • NIH will provide PPP program staff and IC staff effort, OGC involvement, OTT participation, scientific and intellectual contributions, and IC initiatives when appropriate. Part of some projects may be undertaken in NIH facilities when appropriate. Three IC Directors will serve on the EC. NIH representatives will be included in all SCs and project teams.
  • FDA will provide intellectual and scientific input to SCs and project teams and potential qualification of Biomarkers. FDA will have three representatives on the EC, and will have representation on SCs and project teams.
  • PhRMA will contribute money for infrastructure development and support, coordination of industry efforts and participation, and participation in drafting agreements and establishing BC structure.
  • Industry will provide scientific, intellectual, and financial contributions to infrastructure and BC activities, data, assays, equipment, drugs, and reagents. They will participate on the EC, SCs, and project teams.
  • Advocacy groups will provide representation of the public on the EC, fundraising, patient recruitment, public education, and PR. They will participate, as appropriate, on SCs.
  • FNIH will provide management of the consortium, partner relations, fund-raising and financial management, issuance of solicitations, review administration, and awarding of BC/FNIH grants and contracts. They will also provide oversight and coordination of BC activities among the partners.

The Biomarkers Consortium will be launched on October 5, 2006 at the National Press Club.

Dr. Skirboll concluded by describing the next steps: Establish work of steering committees.

  • Develop project plans for first project concepts approved.
  • Firm up funding and other agreements for these projects.
  • Submit project plans to EC for approval.
  • Begin implementation.
  • Solicit new projects.

IV. Other Information Items

Dr. Alving announced that they are anticipating funding for 12 CTSAs for FY06. They are also funding 52 CTSA planning grants with FY06 funds. The funds will be from the Roadmap and NCRR. The investigators will meet at the end of October.

Mr. Smolonsky provided an update on the reauthorization debate and appropriations. He reports that there was no action on appropriations so the NIH will be under continuing resolution until after the elections.

Ann Brewer
cc: OD Senior Staff
This page last reviewed on June 9, 2011

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