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Office of the Director, NIH
The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers. The Office of the Director (OD) is the central office at NIH. The OD is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the NIH components.
The NIH Director provides overall leadership to NIH activities in both scientific and administrative matters. Although each institute within the NIH has a separate mission, the NIH Director plays an active role in shaping the agency's research agenda and outlook. With a unique and critical perspective on the mission of the entire NIH, the Director is responsible for providing leadership to the institutes for identifying needs and opportunities, especially for efforts that involve several institutes. The NIH Director is assisted by the Principal Deputy Director, who shares in the overall direction of the agency's activities.
In carrying out these responsibilities, the NIH Director stays informed about program priorities and accomplishments through regular staff meetings, discussions, and briefing sessions with OD and institute staff. The Director also receives input from:
- the extramural scientific community, including both individual researchers and scientific organizations
- patient advocacy and voluntary health groups that deal directly with NIH or indirectly through Congress and the media
- the Congress, the Administration, and the Director's Council of Public Representatives, which brings public views to NIH.
Ongoing discussions with these groups and others provide the basis for an established framework within which priorities for the agency are identified, reviewed, and justified.
The following describes the major offices in within the NIH Office of the Director:
Research, Funding, and Coordination
The Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) was created by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 and provides leadership for identifying, reporting, and funding of trans-NIH research that represents important areas of emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, or knowledge gaps that merit further research and would benefit from collaboration between two or more NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs), or from strategic coordination and planning. The Division coordinates and oversees the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a series of trans-NIH programs that are supported by the NIH Common Fund. These catalytic programs help support research throughout the biomedical community by providing enabling technologies, services, and programs; developing essential tools and methodologies; and fostering innovation through high risk/high reward programs. DPCPSI includes major programmatic offices that coordinate research and activities related to AIDS, behavioral and social sciences, women’s health, disease prevention, dietary supplements, research infrastructure, and science education.
DPCPSI is responsible for developing new approaches to analyze the NIH research portfolio and the development and use of informatics tools for this purpose. The Division also manages NIH-wide evaluation and performance assessment activities, including coordination and preparation of plans and reports required by the Government Performance and Results Act. The Division includes the following Offices:
- Office of AIDS Research (OAR) — The OAR plans, coordinates, evaluates, and budgets the NIH AIDS research program, which is carried out by nearly all of the NIH Institutes and Centers. Through its annual trans-NIH planning, budgeting, and portfolio analysis processes, OAR identifies the highest priority areas of scientific opportunity, enhances collaboration, minimizes duplication, and ensures that research dollars are invested effectively. OAR identifies emerging scientific areas that require focused attention; manages and facilitates multi-Institute and trans-Institute activities to address those needs; fosters research by designating funds and supplements to jump-start or pilot program areas; sponsors reviews or evaluations of research program areas; facilitates international AIDS research and training; and supports domestic and international initiatives to enhance dissemination of research findings to researchers, physicians, institutions, communities, constituency groups, and patients.
- Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)— The OBSSR furthers the mission of NIH by emphasizing the critical role that behavioral and social factors play in health, health care, and well-being. Established by the U.S. Congress as part of the NIH Office of the Director, its mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate it more fully into the NIH research enterprise.
- Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) — The mission of the ODP is to improve the public health by increasing the scope, quality, dissemination, and impact of prevention research supported by the NIH. The ODP fulfills this mission by providing leadership for the development, coordination, and implementation of prevention research in collaboration with NIH Institutes and Centers and other partners. The Office coordinates the activities of the Prevention Research Coordinating Committee (PRCC) and participates in disease prevention and health promotion activities, including those associated with the US Preventive Services Task Force, the Community Preventive Services Task Force, and the Healthy People initiative. The ODP monitors NIH investments in prevention research and assesses the progress and results of that research; identifies prevention research areas for investment or expanded effort by the NIH; and promotes the use of the best available methods in prevention research and supports the development of better methods. The Office also promotes collaborative prevention research projects and facilitates coordination of such projects across the NIH and with other public and private entities; identifies and promotes the use of evidence-based interventions and promotes the conduct of dissemination and implementation research in prevention; and works to increase the visibility of prevention research at the NIH and across the country. In addition, the ODP oversees the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program, a trans-NIH collaborative effort with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products to conduct research to support regulatory activities for tobacco products.
- Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) — The mission of ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population. ODS co-funds research on dietary supplements and sponsors systematic reviews and projects to enhance the incorporation of these reviews into nutrition research. ODS provides accurate and up-to-date scientific information about dietary supplements.
- Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) — The ORIP provides the research infrastructure and programs to ensure NIH effectively addresses important areas of emerging scientific opportunities. The trans-NIH nature of ORIP includes coordinating research, training, and science education efforts to advance medical research in all disease areas across basic, translational, and clinical research. ORIP supports programs that offer access to state-of-the-art instrumentation, develops and provides access to critical animal models, trains veterinary scientists to become partners in research, funds research facilities improvement projects, and supports comprehensive science education efforts to improve science literacy in adults and children.
- Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) — ORWH is the first U.S. Public Health Service office dedicated specifically to promote women’s health research within and beyond the NIH scientific community. The office was established in 1990. ORWH crafts and implements the NIH strategic plan for research on women’s health in partnership with NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and co-funds research on the role of sex and gender on health. ORWH also collaborates with NIH ICs, the NIH Office of Extramural Research, and the NIH Office of Intramural Research to monitor adherence to NIH’s inclusion policies, which ensure that women and minorities are represented in NIH-supported clinical research. ORWH’s interdisciplinary research and career development initiatives stimulate research on sex and gender differences and provide career support to launch promising women’s health researchers. These programs set the stage for improved health for women and their families and career opportunities and advancement for a diverse biomedical workforce.
- Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) — The OSC coordinates the NIH Common Fund. The Common Fund was enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act to support cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by at least two NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. The requirements for the Common Fund encourage collaboration across the ICs while providing the NIH with flexibility to determine priorities for Common Fund support. To date, the Common Fund has been used to support a series of short term, exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs. The intent of NIH Common Fund programs is to provide a strategic and nimble approach to address key roadblocks in biomedical research that impede basic scientific discovery and its translation into improved human health. In addition, these programs capitalize on emerging opportunities to catalyze the rate of progress across multiple biomedical fields. Common Fund programs are expected to transform the way a broad spectrum of health research is conducted. Initiatives that comprise Common Fund programs are intended to be catalytic in nature by providing limited term investments (up to 10 fiscal years) in strategic areas to stimulate further research through IC-funded mechanisms.
- Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA) — The OPA analyzes data on NIH-supported research to inform trans-NIH planning and coordination; uses databases, analytic tools, methodologies and other resources to conduct assessments in support of portfolio analyses and priority setting in scientific areas of interest across NIH; researches and develops new analytic tools, and support systems to enhance the management of the NIH’s scientific portfolio; and provides in coordination with other NIH organizations, training on portfolio analysis tools, procedures, and methodology.
- Office of Program Evaluation and Performance (OPEP) — The OPEP plans, conducts, coordinates, and supports program evaluations, including IC-specific program and project evaluations and trans-NIH evaluations; manages and administers NIH’s Evaluation Set-Aside Program; coordinates the preparation of plans and reports required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), and identifies and advises on emerging issues that have implications for program evaluation and performance reporting for the NIH.
Office of Extramural Research (OER)
The Office of Extramural Research provides the corporate framework for the NIH research administration and works to ensure the scientific integrity, public accountability, and effective stewardship of the NIH research grant portfolio.
Office of Intramural Research (OIR)
The Office of Intramural Research is responsible for oversight and coordination of intramural research, training, and technology transfer conducted internally within the federal laboratories and clinics of the National Institutes of Health. Comprising approximately 10% of the NIH budget, the intramural research program, spread across 24 NIH institutes and centers, includes the NIH Clinical Center research hospital and the National Library of Medicine. The program supports approximately 1,000 principal investigators and 7,000 trainees and other scientific staff.
Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL)
The Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) advises the Director and is responsible for communicating information on NIH policies, programs, and research results to the general public, the media, public interest groups, the scientific and medical communities, and other audiences. OCPL also encourages broad national public participation in NIH activities, helps to resolve local community concerns, and coordinates how NIH implements the Federal Freedom of Information Act and Plain Language Act. The office also sets communications policies for the NIH and coordinates agency-wide communications and public liaison activities; manages the principal Web site for NIH; and produces a variety of original communication products, including traditional and electronic publications for NIH employees.
Office of Science Policy (OSP)
The NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP) advises the NIH Director on matters of significance to the agency, the research community, and the public, with an eye toward promoting progress in the biomedical research enterprise through the development of sound and comprehensive policies. Toward that end, OSP analyzes and fosters discourse about a broad range of scientific, ethical, legal, social, and safety issues; identifies important emerging policy issues that affect biomedical research; and takes into account the concerns of the agency, the scientific community, and the public at large.
Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA)
The Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis serves as the principal legislative policy, analysis, and development office for the Director and other senior NIH staff; develops legislative policy and proposals; and provides analysis and liaison with Congress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other Federal agencies on issues affecting NIH programs and activities.
Administration and Services
Executive Office (ODEO)
The Executive Office leads, plans, and manages the NIH Office of the Director (OD) administrative and business operations to include but not limited to, acquisitions, strategic planning, travel, property, space, budget, information technology, human resources, records, risks, internal controls, policies, delegations, management analysis, organizational analysis and development, and advises the NIH Director, Deputy Director, and OD senior staff on the administrative management of the OD and its programs.
NIH Ethics Office
The NIH Ethics Office provides oversight and strategic direction of NIH activities relating to ethics policy, oversight, and operational activities; develops and administers the NIH policies and procedures for implementing the Government-wide conflict of interest statutes and regulations, the HHS supplemental conflict of interest regulations, and HHS policies; implements a program for trans-NIH ethics oversight that includes information technology (IT) support systems, periodic reviews, audits, delegations of authority, training, and records management; determines real or potential conflicts of interest and assesses ethical considerations in scientific reporting, clinical trials, and scientific conferences and workshops; and serves as the liaison and coordinates the NIH response to requests from Congress, the Inspector General, HHS, and the Office of Government Ethics, and performs appropriate liaison activities.
Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
The Office of the Chief Information Officer provides leadership and management support to empower NIH Institutes and Centers to acquire, manage and deliver IT solutions in ways that are innovative, well planned, secure and fiscally responsible. In this way, OCIO ensures that all Information and Information Technology used by the NIH supports the business needs in the best possible way.
Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion serves as the focal point for NIH-wide policy formulation, implementation, coordination, and management of civil rights and equal opportunity. It also provides strategic direction to NIH Institutes and Centers on matters of inclusion through diversity-related consultation, targeted workforce diversity portfolios, tailored training, complaints resolution, and data analytics.
Office of Management (OM)
The NIH Office of Management (OM) is located within the Office of the Director and is responsible for administrative and financial functions of the NIH. The OM advises the Director and Deputy Director, on all phases of NIH-wide administration and oversees NIH interactions with the Inspector General, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the General Accounting Office. The OM includes the following offices:
- Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management (OALM) advises the NIH Director and staff on acquisition and logistics activities and contract and grant financial advisory services; provides leadership and guidance to NIH components on acquisition and logistics administration and management; and develops/implements policies, provides oversight, and manages the operational components in the areas of acquisition and logistics management.
- Office of Budget (OB) is the central NIH office responsible for budget policy, planning, analysis, formulation, justification, presentation, and execution of annual appropriations in concert with 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs). It operates as the NIH focal point for the interpretation, preparation, dissemination, and implementation of financial policies and procedures. OB advises the NIH Director on budgetary issues, and functions as the budget liaison with HHS, OMB, and Congress.
- Office of Financial Management (OFM) provides central accounting and reporting for all financial transactions that originate from the 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs). OFM also provides overall direction and leadership to the ICs by establishing financial management policies and procedures and by providing oversight of the NIH Core Financial Management Systems. OFM is the focal point for audits, travel policy, central services funds management, and the general ledger.
- Office of Human Resources (OHR) advises the NIH Director and staff on strategic and tactical human resource (HR) management; directs HR management services; provides NIH leadership and planning on Human Capital program development, salary administration, corporate recruitment, employee and management development; conducts studies and makes recommendations for new or redirected HR efforts, programs, and policies; and supports HR information systems.
- Office of Management Assessment (OMA) provides expert advice to the Deputy Director for Management and other NIH leadership officials on program integrity, risk management, liaison with outside audit organizations, and management support systems. OMA implements NIH-wide programs in each of these areas to safeguard the assets and preserve the public trust in NIH, and to provide management systems that support administrative processes within the agency.
- Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations (ORF) provides and operates healthy, safe, and attractive capital facilities on all NIH campuses through the management, design, development, construction, repair, and improvement of facilities and their related infrastructure. As the single point of accountability for all NIH facility activities, ORF coordinates and manages planning for NIH owned and leased facilities through NIH Master Plans, Space Plans, and related facility studies. ORF maintains the NIH environment through the management of environmental inspections, impacts, and the coordination of the NIH waste recycling program.
- Office of Research Services (ORS) provides a comprehensive portfolio of services to support the biomedical research mission of the NIH. Some examples of the diverse services ORS provides include: laboratory safety, security and emergency response, veterinary resources, the NIH Library, events management, travel and transportation, services for foreign scientists, and programs to enrich and enhance the NIH worksite.
- Office of Strategic Planning for Administration (OSPA)OSPA provides assistance to the NIH administrative management leadership with the development and implementation of strategic plans, programs, and support activities for more effective administrative functions that advance the long-term goals of the NIH mission.
- NIH Business System (NBS) is the central electronic business system of the NIH including the general ledger, finance, budget, procurement, supply, travel, and property management systems. NBS is aimed at improving data consolidation and financial reporting capabilities.
Office of the Ombudsman/Center for Cooperative Resolution (OO/CCR)
The NIH Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution (OO/CCR), is a confidential, neutral, independent resource providing informal assistance to NIH scientists, administrators, and staff at all levels in addressing lab and work-related issues. The OO/CCR provides assistance in many types of conflicts, including difficult interpersonal situations, performance appraisals, harassment, and other types of workplace concerns. The OO/CCR can serve as a sounding board to help analyze complex situations, discuss various options, and assist in obtaining the information and resources needed to address concerns. They assist the scientific community at NIH in resolving conflicts related to collaboration, authorship, scientific disputes, and other aspects of team science, giving and receiving scientific criticism, and dealing with interpersonal conflicts. The OO/CCR can help groups foster a productive work environment and healthy, effective relationships among team members. Their services, such as mediation and other non-adversarial processes, encourage better communication and promote early problem resolution in the workplace.
This page last reviewed on January 18, 2017