NICHD Commits to Five-Year Strategic Plan

May 23, 2018

Details are emerging about the process the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is pursuing to craft a new strategic plan.  In 2011, former NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher led a scientific “visioning” process, which outlined future research directions, but did not develop a traditional strategic plan.  Since her arrival in 2016, NICHD Director Diana Bianchi has expressed an interest in developing a comprehensive strategic plan—something the Institute has not done since 2000.

As part of its Fiscal Year 2019 budget submission, the Institute announced its intention to develop a new five-year strategic plan in 2018.  According to the document, “this plan will be developed with input from a wide array of internal and external scientific advisers and stakeholders, and in collaboration with leadership and staff of NIH. As this new strategic plan is established, NICHD will continue to support research across the lifespan, positioning the Institute to more effectively address many of the public health challenges we face as a nation.”

In recent meetings with NICHD stakeholders, NICHD staff told FABBS and colleagues that the process will be “data driven” and “transparent” with opportunities for stakeholders to provide comments formally and informally via a variety of mechanisms, including an open comment period after the draft plan is released and throughout the process at a website under construction,

Before July, the Institute expects to name members of its strategic planning working group.  The group will be comprised of approximately 25 internal and external experts and will reflect the breadth of the Institute’s extensive research portfolio. FABBS and colleagues from the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the Population Association of America met recently with NICHD staff to express an interest in ensuring the working group includes experts representing our sciences. In addition to input from the working group, the plan will reflect findings from internal analyses NICHD staff are conducting of the Institute’s large grant programs and review groups.

FABBS will alert its members about opportunities to participate in this important planning process, which could potentially affect the NICHD research agenda and organization for many years to come.