The NIDDK is taking several steps to strengthen its program planning process, in consultation with its National Advisory Council, external scientific experts, and voluntary and professional organizations. For example, during the past year, the NIDDK developed a draft Institute-wide strategic plan, together with a strategic plan directed specifically at minority health disparities. The Institute is seeking continuous feedback on these plans and will continue to refine them. In addition, the NIDDK recognizes a need for an ongoing, two-tiered process for the development of program initiatives.
- Short-term, Operational Planning: Very specific, concrete initiatives need to be developed for each upcoming fiscal year--within the context of known funding availability. This type of planning is essential for NIDDK to issue timely research solicitations and to ensure their review and funding in the targeted fiscal year.
- Long-term, Strategic Planning: "Contingency" initiatives need to be developed for documenting and presenting to public policy makers the many meritorious scientific concepts that NIDDK could pursue if additional funds were made available.
For both short- and long-term planning, the NIDDK wants to give greater emphasis to
- Science-driven program initiatives in which two or more divisions pursue shared research interests.
- Initiatives that are compatible with trans-NIH and trans-HHS planning processes.
- Projects that are conducive to collaborative partnerships with other Institutes, agencies, the private sector, and professional and voluntary health organizations.
The NIDDK is establishing a series of ad hoc strategic planning groups to aid its program planning process.
These strategic planning groups will be established as Working Groups of the NIDDK National Advisory Council.
These ad hoc strategic planning groups will give the NIDDK Director and Division Directors scientific advice regarding the formulation of trans-Institute program initiatives in the following cross-cutting scientific areas:
- Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics
- Stem Cells and Developmental Biology
- Disease Prevention and Management
The scientific focus of these groups may evolve over time. Moreover, groups may be added or disbanded in the future. It is important to emphasize that these groups are intended to complement, but not substitute for, Division-specific program planning. Each Division will still continue to pursue its program planning efforts with its respective scientific and lay communities in a variety of ways, including conferences, workshops, and planning meetings.
These groups will be structurally modeled after the working groups the NIDDK convened in the summer of 1999 on the topics of genes, cells, clinical research, and infrastructure--the major chapters of the NIDDK Strategic Plan. An effort will be made to include in the membership of each group NIDDK scientific program staff, at least one scientific and one lay representative from the NIDDK National Advisory Council, at least one NIDDK intramural scientist, and multiple external scientific experts. Members of the NIDDK review staff are encouraged to be involved in the activities of the groups. Administrative leadership for the groups will be provided by one or more NIDDK scientific program directors. A present or past Council Member will serve as the Discussion Leader for each meeting. Participation of Council members in these groups may not necessarily coincide with their terms on Council. Although each group will have a "core" membership, the invited participants for any specific meeting may vary, depending upon the need to seek additional expertise in order to address the agenda topics.
The groups are expected to meet only two or three times each year. Efforts will be made to piggyback meetings onto NIDDK Council meetings whenever possible. The groups are encouraged to use conference calls, email, and other types of communication. The first meetings of these groups will be in conjunction with the September 2000 meeting of the NIDDK National Advisory Council, as follows:
Stem Cells and Developmental Biology:
First Meeting 9/19, 12-4 p.m. - Bethesda Hyatt
Administrative Leaders: Dr. David Badman and Dr. Sheryl Sato
Discussion Leader: Dr. Jeff Gordon
Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics:
First Meeting 9/19, 6-10 p.m. - Bethesda Hyatt
Administrative Leader: Dr. Philip Smith
Discussion Leader: Dr. Ed Holmes
Disease Prevention and Management:
First Meeting 9/21, 12-5 p.m. - NIH, 31C/10
Administrative Leaders: Dr. Jay Everhart and Dr. John Kusek
Discussion Leader: Dr. Robert Schrier
Scientific initiative concepts developed by the groups will be pursued through the regular NIDDK budget process; no funds are being reserved for the groups to target toward specific initiatives. Rather, the groups are encouraged to focus on the scientific merit and feasibility of concepts, not on the budgetary aspects of how and when these concepts might be implemented. (Travel, honoraria, and other costs associated with the meetings will be charged to and coordinated by the Office of the Director, NIDDK.)