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Office of the Director

Major Components

The NIH is comprised of the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers. The Office of the Director is the central office at NIH. The OD is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the NIH components.

The NIH Director provides overall leadership to NIH activities in both scientific and administrative matters. Although each institute within the NIH has a separate mission, the NIH Director plays an active role in shaping the agency's research agenda and outlook. With a unique and critical perspective on the mission of the entire NIH, the Director is responsible for providing leadership to the institutes for identifying needs and opportunities, especially for efforts that involve several institutes. The NIH Director is assisted by the Principal Deputy Director, who shares in the overall direction of the agency's activities.

In carrying out these responsibilities, the NIH Director stays informed about program priorities and accomplishments through regular staff meetings, discussions, and briefing sessions with OD and institute staff. The Director also receives input from:

  • the extramural scientific community, including both individual researchers and scientific organizations
  • patient advocacy and voluntary health groups that deal directly with NIH or indirectly through Congress and the media
  • the Congress and the Administration the Council of Public Representatives, which brings public views to NIH.

Ongoing discussions with these groups and others provides the basis for an established framework within which priorities for the agency are identified, reviewed, and justified.

Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH Director, has outlined five key themes for NIH:

  1. Applying high throughput technologies to understand fundamental biology, and to uncover the causes of specific diseases
  2. Translating basic science discoveries into new and better treatments
  3. Putting science to work for the benefit of health care reform
  4. Encouraging a greater focus on global health
  5. Reinvigorating and empowering the biomedical research community

Program offices in the Office of the Director are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH and for planning and supporting research and related activities. Current program areas are: minority health, women's health, AIDS research, disease prevention, and behavioral and social sciences research. Program offices within the Office of the Director fund research through the institutes.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) advises the NIH Director on the strategic direction and management of the NIH Information and Information Technology (I&IT) program. It provides leadership for the implementation of these technologies to create the information foundation for efficient and effective scientific research, business operations and management of NIH. The Office also represents NIH on matters of I&IT to external agencies.

The Office of Extramural Research (OER)

On behalf of the Director, the Office of Extramural Research provides guidance to institutes in research and training programs conducted through extramural (grant, contract, cooperative agreement) programs.

The Office of Intramural Research (OIR)

On behalf of the Director, the Office of Intramural Research coordinates research conducted directly by NIH personnel through intramural programs.

The Office of Management (OM)

The Office of Management is located within the NIH Office of the Director and has responsibility for management and financial functions of the NIH.

The Office of AIDS Research (OAR)

The Office of AIDS research formulates scientific policy for, and recommends allocation of research resources for, AIDS research at NIH.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research advises the NIH Director and other key officials on matters relating to research on the role of human behavior in the development of health, prevention of disease, and therapeutic intervention.

The Office of Science Policy (OSP)

The Office of Science Policy (OSP) advises the NIH Director on science policy issues affecting the medical research community and participates in the development of new policy and program initiatives. In addition to monitoring and coordinating agency planning and evaluation activities OSP also plans and implements a comprehensive science education program. OSP is also responsible for developing and implementing NIH policies and procedures for the safe conduct of recombinant DNA and other biotechnology activities.

The Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL)

The Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) is responsible for communicating information on NIH programs and activities to the public, the media, the scientific and medical communities, and public advocacy groups.

The Office of Community Liaison (OCL)

The Office of Community Liaison advises the Director, plans, directs and oversees activities to promote collaboration between NIH and its community, and ensures effective communication on policy and programs involving the community.

The Office of Disease Prevention (ODP)

The Office of Disease Prevention coordinates NIH activities regarding the application of research to disease prevention, nutrition and medical practice.

The Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE)

The Office of Intramural Training and Education provides a comprehensive guide to postdoctoral training opportunities available at the NIH.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management (OEODM)

The Office of Equal Opportunity advises the Director and NIH staff on matters related to equal employment opportunity programs and policies.

The Office of Financial Management (OFM)

The Office of Financial Management advises the NIH Director and staff and provides leadership and direction for NIH financial management activities; develops policies and instructions for budget preparation and presentation and administers allocation of funds and manages a system of fund and budgetary controls.

The Office of Human Resources (OHR)

The Office of Human Resources advises the NIH Director and staff on human resource management; directs central human resource management services; and provides NIH leadership and planning on human resource program development.

The Office of Research Services (ORS)

The Office of Research Services plans and directs service programs for public safety and security operations, scientific and regulatory support programs, and a wide variety of other program and employee services. The ORS advises the NIH Deputy Director for Management and other NIH senior staff on the management and delivery of technical and administrative services in support of the NIH research mission.

The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT)

The Office of Technology Transfer evaluates, protects, licenses, monitors, and manages the wide range of NIH and FDA intramural discoveries and inventions. OTT also serves as the lead office for the development of intramural and extramural technology transfer policy for NIH.

The Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA)

The Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA) serves as the principal office within the Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), for providing legislative analysis, policy development, and liaison with the Congress. OLPA facilitates and enhances the relationship between NIH and the Congress; advances NIH legislative priorities; and ensures that the NIH community receives essential information, advice, and guidance regarding developments in the Congress that affect NIH.

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) serves as a focal point for women's health research at the NIH. The ORWH promotes, stimulates, and supports efforts to improve the health of women through biomedical and behavioral research. ORWH works in partnership with the NIH institutes and centers to ensure that women's health research is part of the scientific framework at NIH and throughout the scientific community.

Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI)

The Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives identifies and reports on research that represents important areas of emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, or knowledge gaps that deserve special emphasis. Such research benefits from conducting or supporting additional research that involves collaboration between 2 or more NIH Institutes or Centers, or would otherwise benefit from strategic coordination and planning. The Division also coordinates research and activities related to research on AIDS, behavioral and social sciences, women's health, disease prevention, rare diseases, and dietary supplements and includes a new office on strategic coordination.

This page last reviewed on May 7, 2015

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