NIH Reauthorization—Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the NIH Reform Act significant?

Reauthorization is the process by which Congress prescribes revisions, additions, and deletions to NIH's statutory authority. Through this process, legislation is developed that adjusts NIH's programs to meet changing research needs. The last NIH reauthorization, the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act, was enacted on June 10, 1993. Many of the authorization of appropriations sections expired in 1996. Although some of these authorizations of appropriations sections were renewed and disease-specific mandates enacted in separate legislation, NIH had not been reviewed organizationally as a whole since 1993. The NIH Reform Act furthers NIH's ability to focus on how research cuts across many disciplines and requires collaboration among many specialties.

What are the major provisions of the legislation?

Key provisions include: the establishment of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, a Common Fund for trans-NIH initiatives, and a Scientific Management Review Board to periodically examine the use of NIH's organizational authorities; a single new authorizations of appropriations for NIH; changes in certain reorganization procedures; and new reporting requirements.

How do these provisions affect NIH?

This legislation is enabling NIH to respond strategically in an era when the scale and complexity of the problems we are facing require constant innovation and increased interdisciplinary efforts. The functional integration will ensure continued scientific progress and a balanced portfolio of basic, translational and clinical research across all NIH Institutes and Centers.

How did NIH implement the legislation?

The NIH Director established an Ad Hoc Working Group of the NIH Steering Committee chaired by the NIH Deputy Director and comprised of IC Directors and leadership in legislation, policy, management, communications, extramural and intramural activities, budget, and the Office of General Counsel to make recommendations on the implementation of the legislation. The Ad Hoc Working Group was charged with completing a careful, detailed analysis of the legislation and proposing plans for the implementation of this significant legislation to aid NIH in serving the public and our scientific community more effectively.

Whom do we contact if we have specific questions?

The Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (301) 496-3471.

This page last reviewed on April 4, 2016