NIH Releases First Agency-Wide Strategic Plan to Enhance Health-Care Research and Technology

The NIH has released a five-year agency-wide strategic plan for expanding health-care research and technology, with specific goals to further explore HIV and influenza vaccines, cancer survival rates, and diabetes. This is the first effort from the agency to develop a plan that includes all 27 institutes and centers. In addition, the NIH included fiscal goals for 2016 through 2020.

“Strategic and technological breakthroughs that have arisen from NIH-sponsored research account for many of the gains that the United States has seen in health and longevity,” said Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, director of the NIH. “But much remains to be done.”

Four essential pillars are the guiding principles of this initiative:

  1. Advance opportunities in biomedical research in fundamental science, treatment and cures, and health promotion and disease prevention.
  2. Foster innovation, consider burden of disease and value of permanently eradicating a disease, and advance research opportunities for rare diseases.
  3. Enhance scientific stewardship by recruiting and retaining a biomedical research workforce.
  4. Manage results by balancing outputs with outcomes, conduct workforce analyses, continue peer reviews, evaluate steps to enhance reproducibility, reduce administrative burden, and track effectiveness of risk management in decision-making.

Highlights of the specific goals outlined by NIH include:

  • Enhance cancer survival via precision medicine.
  • Conduct clinical trials in an effort to develop a universal influenza vaccine.
  • Apply pharmacogenomics in a real-world setting for improved outcomes.
  • Develop applications of certain mobile health technologies to enhance health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Improve development of U.S. FDA-approved rare disease therapeutics.
  • Conduct research on the artificial pancreas in an effort to better manage diabetes without the dangers of hypoglycemia.

The plan was developed after soliciting input from a range of industry stakeholders, garnering more than 450 responses.

The agency will be tracking progress of the plan over the next five years.

Source: National Institutes of Health news release, December 16, 2015.