NIH Makes Progress on Research "Roadmap"

At the National Institutes of Health, sixteen working groups are busy identifying hot, cutting edge areas of science.

At the National Institutes of Health, sixteen working groups are busy identifying hot, cutting edge areas of science. This planning process will produce scientific "roadmaps" which NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, MD would consult in order to parcel out additional resources. In the months after his appointment, Dr. Zerhouni spoke often of prevention as an example of an important area where additional resources should be directed.

PPO staff have subsequently learned that the sixteen issue areas where planning has commenced do not include "prevention." The rubrics are broader: for example, "translational" research is one area; "clinical" is another (as are structural biology, nanotechnology and others). These roadmaps may allow for additional funding of behavioral and social science research, but it very much depends on how the areas are defined by each of the working groups.

Dr. Zerhouni will have approximately $35 million to spend on these roadmap areas if he chooses to: the NIH Director is provided a 'tap' of institute budgets to use for priority research funding.

In concert with APA's CEO, Norman Anderson, Ph.D., the Public Policy Office is working with other behavioral and social science organizations to ensure that behavioral and social scientists are members of the working groups and that behavioral and social science is well represented in the areas chosen for additional funding. We'll have more information about these efforts in the next SPIN.