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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

September 8, 2009

To: IC Directors
From: Penny Burgoon
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—August 27, 2009

Discussion Items

Opening Remarks: Dr. Francis Collins, OD

Dr. Collins greeted the IC Directors and commented how happy he was to be back among his colleagues. He acknowledged and thanked Dr. Raynard Kington and Dr. Larry Tabak for their leadership as Acting Director and Acting Deputy Director, respectively. Dr. Kington has graciously agreed to continue his role as principal NIH Deputy Director, and Dr. Tabak will also continue his leadership in guiding NIH efforts in ARRA.

Dr. Collins will be hiring Dr. Kathy Hudson as Chief of Staff to address high level areas of science and to build interagency relationships. Also, the search for an Associate Director for the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs is underway and additional senior leadership searches will be starting soon for other OD offices. An open discussion with the NIH Steering Committee on August 20th led to identification of some continuing governance issues. The system as a whole will be examined to see if any changes would be in order.

Dr. Collins outlined his philosophy by which he would like to conduct NIH business. While some goals are still in development, he would like NIH business to be:

  • Guided by science
  • Open and collegial — Including being direct with bad news when necessary
  • Dr. Collins will try to be accessible for communication but
  • Please keep e-mails short
  • Please keep briefings condensed

Brief update on GWAS data sharing: Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, NHLBI, and Dr. Alan Guttmacher, NHGRI

Senior oversight of Gene Wide Association Studies (GWAS) data sharing is working well. The trans-NIH committee originally charged to coordinate consideration of ARRA applications related to genome sequencing is now considering a draft Data Sharing Policy for Sequence and Related Genomic Data (handout) patterned after the NIH GWAS data sharing policies. Currently, data sharing policies and use of dbGaP only apply to GWAS and not large scale sequencing. The draft policy being proposed today will make data sharing more broadly available.

IC Directors were asked to review the draft policy and to send comments to Dr. Laura Lyman Rodriguez, NHGRI, Dr. Nabel, or Dr. Guttmacher.

Update on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER): Dr. Richard Hodes, NIA, Dr. Nabel, NHLBI, Dr. Lana Skirboll, OD

Dr. Hodes presented an update on NIH’s current efforts in CER in context with DHHS and AHRQ efforts. The Secretary’s spend plan for ARRA funds are designed to complement the operational plans of AHRQ and NIH. AHRQ spend plans are intended to expand and broaden pre-existing CER initiatives. NIH spend plans will use a variety of existing and ARRA-generated mechanisms to support 2-year projects. NIH will also undertake a CER portfolio analysis.

The NIH CER Coordinating Committee has received and reviewed requests for payline expansion and Challenge Grant, GO grant, competitive revision, and administrative supplement submissions. Funding recommendations will be proposed soon for the NIH Director’s decision.

Exceptional Opportunities for Biomedical Research at NIH: Dr. Francis Collins

To support continued growth and future investment in biomedical research, the public and stakeholders must not only understand what NIH does, but also grasp the implications of and their applications to health, health care, and biomedical research. With the current administration being supportive of scientific research, Dr. Collins proposed five themes for focusing current NIH efforts:

  1. Opportunity 1: Applying unprecedented opportunities in genomics and other high throughput technologies to understand fundamental biology, and to uncover the causes of specific diseases
  2. Opportunity 2: Translating basic science discoveries into new and better treatments
  3. Opportunity 3: Putting science to work for the benefit of health care reform
  4. Opportunity 4: Encouraging a greater focus on global health
  5. Opportunity 5: Reinvigorating and empowering the biomedical research community

IC Directors discussed the state of biomedical research and how it has responded to the economic downturn. Dr. Collins was encouraged to discuss how his five themes will map with the interests of a typical NIH grantee in order to unify the research community in support of these opportunities.

This page last reviewed on May 29, 2012

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