NIH reorganization of addictions research is delayed another year

Outside stakeholders are promised a significant role in planning.

By Geoff Mumford

It was announced on June 9 that the release of a draft plan for reorganizing  substance use, abuse, and addiction (SUAA) research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be delayed until the fall of 2012. The deputy director of NIH, Lawrence Tabak, made this announcement in a presentation to the Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (see transcript (PDF,145KB) and slides (PDF, 364KB)). As reported previously, it had been expected that the draft plan would be released by the end of the summer of 2011.  Tabak cited the complexities of the scientific and administrative issues surrounding the reorganization as the reason for the delay.

The goal is for two documents to be produced by the fall of 2012: a portfolio integration plan for assigning existing grants to a new addictions institute and other NIH institutes, and a strategic plan to guide funding of SUAA research in the future. The new institute would then be implemented in the fall of 2013 to coincide with the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014. 

Since February 2009, the American Psychological Association (APA), working with other scientific organizations, has asked repeatedly for greater involvement in the reorganization effort. Tabak acknowledged this effort, saying  “as a result of a great deal of feedback which, for the most part, has been extremely thoughtful, has been extremely helpful, is that stakeholders—and I am using that as a plural—really have effectively argued that they need to be part of the scientific planning as we go forward for this new institute.”

Updates on the reorganization will appear on the NIH Feedback website. APA government relations staff will monitor and contribute to the planning process as it unfolds.


Geoff Mumford is Associate Executive Director for Government Relations in the APA Science Directorate.