FABBS Comments on Proposed NIH-wide Strategic Plan

April 15, 2020

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working on a proposed framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025. The Request for Information includes three objectives:

  • Objective 1: Advancing Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences
  • Objective 2: Developing, Maintaining, and Renewing Scientific Research Capacity
  • Objective 3: Exemplifying and Promoting the Highest Level of Scientific Integrity, Public Accountability, and Social Responsibility in the Conduct of Science

FABBS members should take note that the proposed objective 1 includes ‘Behavioral’ science, a significant addition to previous wording  ‘Advancing Opportunities in Biomedical Research’ in the previous NIH-Wide Strategic Plan.

The five cross cutting themes include:

  • Increasing, Enhancing, and Supporting Diversity
  • Improving Women’s Health and Minority Health, and Reducing Health Disparities
  • Optimizing Data Science and the Development of Technologies and Tools
  • Promoting Collaborative Science
  • Addressing Public Health Challenges Across the Lifespan

FABBS commented on framework and suggested future opportunities for trans-NIH needs.

FABBS congratulates James A. Griffin for being named the new Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDBB) at NICHD. Dr. Griffin, an expert in early learning and school readiness research, has served as Deputy Chief of CDBB since joining NICHD in 2004. For the past year, he has served as Acting Branch Chief of CDBB. (Please see the full announcement.) Dr. Griffin was part of a FABBS meeting with NICHD Deputy Director Alison Cernich last year and we look forward to our continued collaboration.

NIH continues to improve upon their peer review process as examined in the report “NIH Has Acted To Protect Confidential Information Handled by Peer Reviewers, But It Could Do More” conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG). The report found that NIH generally ‘protects the confidentiality of the peer review process through efforts to prevent disclosures, identify potential breaches, and take action against reviewers who disclose confidential information and NIH actively responds to instances of suspected undue foreign influence in peer review, but is in the early stages of addressing it systemically’. Among the recommendations, the OIG encouraged NIH to require all peer reviewers to attend periodic trainings about peer review integrity.