Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
January 7, 2003
|From:||Acting Director, Executive Secretariat|
|Subject:||IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — December 12, 2002|
I. Funding Advisory Review Board (FARB)
Dr. Katz explained the FARB's membership and characterized its mission as follows:
- to review and make recommendations on proposed activities and budgets for current and future years for components that are funded centrally, and
- to make recommendations for the funding priority among competing demands placed on these components.
He then recounted several of its major accomplishments, the most significant of which he deems to be that during the two budget cycles in which the FARB has operated, there have been no out of cycle ad hoc budget request to ICs.
Dr. Katz then noted that it is time to consider the FARB's effectiveness with an eye to determining if it should continue and if so what modifications in scope of charter or adjustments in review process are advisable.
According to Dr. Katz, preliminary review indicated general but not unanimous agreement that the FARB is essential to the NIH Budget process. However, several concerns were raised:
- FARB review is too detailed;
- FARB adds another layer of review;
- FARB should concentrate on the current, upcoming budget year.
These reviewers also noted that there is a need to deal with larger NIH budget concerns such as IT issues, long-term implications of major infrastructure projects, and the Clinical Center's direct budget submission to the NIH Director as required by its charter. These issues are not currently within the purview of the FARB.
After considering these observations, the FARB recommends modifying its current review process by establishing increments of a uniform range and splitting increments only on an exceptional basis, but not modifying other aspects of the process.
After discussion, the group decided that the FARB should continue to operate with the proposed modification regarding establishing increments but continuing to include the future budget year as well as the current, upcoming one. During this discussion, Mr. Ficca noted that he agreed with the FARB's observation that the NIH needs a Security Advisory Committee to balance security requirements, convenience, and cost, and that he would work on establishing such an effort.
In conclusion, Dr. Zerhouni stressed that the FARB process is a great first step toward what he requires and expects in order for the NIH to succeed organizationally during these times of uncertainty. He feels that the NIH must ensure that there is a cohesive, strategic management plan including long-range, activity-based costing for all ICs in conjunction with consideration of central services and the entire NIH overhead.
II. NIH Communication Plan
Dr. Zerhouni began the discussion of how the NIH communicates with the public by stating that he would like the NIH to take a leadership role in bringing its various constituencies into the communication process. He cited the recent HT Conference as an excellent example of how he would like to communicate NIH activities in proactive ways.
Mr. Burklow then presented an overview of NIH's strategic approach toward enhancing public understanding of the importance of medical research in improving people's health and the leadership role of NIH in that effort. This plan includes a number of steps ranging from ongoing improvement and marketing of the NIH home page to developing an NIH traveling exhibit.
The response from IC Directors to this plan was universally positive.
III. Reporting Significant Items to OS
Because of time constraints, this item was deferred until the next meeting.
cc: OD Staff