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Home > Institutes, Centers & Offices > Office of the Director > Freedom Of Information Act Office > Selected NIH Institute and Center Director's Meeting Minutes

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

March 30, 2007

To: IC Directors
From: Kerry Brink, Assistant to the Deputy Director, NIH
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — February 22, 2007

Discussion Items

I. Enhancing the NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

Several months ago, Dr. Zerhouni asked Dr. Niederhuber to take a “fresh look” at opportunities for enhancing the success of the NIH SBIR program. Dr. Niederhuber presented a series of recommendations for the SBIR program to the NIH Steering Committee in January which was strongly endorsed. Dr. Niederhuber expressed that the recommended improvements in the SBIR/STTR programs are anticipated to be productive and advantageous to NIH. He introduced the team working on the proposal: Mr. Michael Weingarten, NCI SBIR/STTR Program Director; Dr. Andrew Kurtz, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow; and John Hartinger, NCI Office of the Director. Mr. Weingarten presented NCI’s proposal for optimizing NIH’s current $640 million SBIR/STTR efforts by:

  • Focusing solicitations on commercially viable technologies;
  • Pooling the right talent including those with NIH and industry experience to optimally manage the SBIR program on a full-time basis through establishing SBIR Development Centers;
  • Assembling an external SBIR Advisory Committee; and
  • Bridging the “Valley of Death” between development and commercialization with a newly proposed bridge funding award where NIH stimulates private investment through matching fund incentives.

Central to the success of this effort will be a restructuring of the SBIR/STTR efforts to focus on more directed research and to allow for close management of awardees’ progress toward milestones and product development.

Many IC Directors voiced the importance of bridging the “Valley of Death” and that the proposed bridge funding may be a way to for NIH to add credibility and leverage in partnering with the private sector. IC Directors agreed for NCI to move forward on all recommendations and to report back within 6 months. It was also agreed that other ICs would voluntarily join with NCI to collaborate on implementing the recommendations. NCI welcomed input from ICs at any time during the development.

II. Update on the FY2008 Budget Roll-out

Mr. John Bartrum provided an update on the FY 2007 Joint Resolution passed by Congress and signed by the President on Feb 15, 2007. Key highlights of the Joint Resolution include:

  • Direct funding totaling $332 million for the NIH Common Fund/Roadmap, allowing ICs to receive increased program funding as they retain their FY 2007 Roadmap contribution.
  • Funding to support vulnerable areas of biomedical research and new investigators; and
  • Direct funding for the National Children’s Study in FY 2007.

Total NIH funds for FY 2007 from the JR are approximately $28.96 billion (includes a pay adjustment estimate which has not yet been finalized). However, the FY 2007 JR changes are not incorporated into the FY 2008 President’s Budget Overview, which projects NIH FY 2008 funding at approximately $28.62 billion if passed without changes from Congress. The impact of the FY 2007 enacted funding on the FY 2008 President’s Budget is unknown until the completion of the FY 2007 Operating Plans. Mr. Bartrum stressed that these plans should carry forward the President’s FY 2007 and FY 2008 policy.

IC Directors stressed that to continually improve the health care paradigm and maintain momentum and advances achieved in biomedical research, the level of national investment needs to be persistent and sustained.

Kerry Brink
cc: OD Staff

This page was last reviewed on April 6, 2007 .

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