NIH Research Planning
Through 27 Institutes and Centers, each with its own broadly defined mission, NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world.
Each year, Federal funds are obligated by Congress for the pursuit of research objectives. Each Institute determines how to allocate its own funds among many different activities of science.
Setting Research Priorities
Decision-makers at NIH seek advice from many sources when setting research priorities:
- the scientific community, including both individual researchers and professional societies;
- patient organizations and voluntary health associations;
- Institute and Center Advisory Councils;
- the Congress and the Administration;
- the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD);
- the NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives (COPR);
- the Scientific Management Review Board; and
- the NIH staff.
The NIH builds its budget by evaluating current opportunities and public health needs while maintaining strong support for investigator-initiated research. The formulation of the NIH budget provides an established framework within which priorities are identified, reviewed, and justified.
A special office was established dedicated to help manage large and complex research portfolios. The Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) identifies important areas of emerging scientific opportunity or rising public health challenges to assist in the acceleration of research investments in these areas.
Scientific "Peer" Review
Investigator-initiated applications for NIH funding are evaluated by peer review groups composed of scientists from outside the NIH. The peer review group evaluates the scientific and technical merit of the proposed research. These evaluations are used by the individual Institutes to determine which projects to fund.
The Office of Extramural Research (OER) manages the development and implementation of policies and procedures that pertain to peer review conducted in all components of the NIH.
- Trans-NIH Research: Scientific Collaboration for the 21st Century—involving multiple Institutes and Centers
- Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives—provides direction and guidance for scientific programs funded by the NIH Common Fund and develops new resources and tools to support the management and assessment of the NIH scientific portfolio.
- Office of Science Policy—advises the NIH Director on science policy issues affecting the medical research community
- Office of Legislative Policy & Analysis—provides legislative analysis, policy development, and liaison with the Congress
- Office of Extramural Research—serves as the focal point for policies and guidelines for extramural research grants administration
- Office of Intramural Research—responsible for oversight and coordination of intramural research, training, and technology transfer conducted within NIH
- Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy—developing laws, regulations, and policies governing Federal advisory committees
- Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)—enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of government programs
- Special Reports Archive—selected reports, budget requests, testimony, and research portfolio.
Watch the Video:
the NIH Grant Review Process"
The video shows how outside experts assess grant applications and how review meetings are conducted to ensure fairness.
Search for research funding opportunities in the NIH Guide.
Detailed funding information on categories of NIH research.
Search for funded research projects through RePORTer.
Other NIH funding information.
Read about key scientific discoveries supported by NIH.