The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) met June 11-12 to discuss major plans and policies at the NIH, including a report on the future of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the creation of an NIH-wide strategic plan, and a report on the physician-scientist workforce.
The ACD Working Group on the NLM presented its final report on a strategic vision for the NLM to remain a leader in biomedical and health information. The report calls for NLM to become the center for data science training and programs at the NIH and across the biomedical research enterprise, and additionally lead efforts to support and catalyze open science, data sharing, and research reproducibility. The recommendations in the report were approved at the meeting by NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
The ACD also heard from NIH Principal Deputy Directory Larry Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., on the process to create a five year NIH-wide scientific strategic plan. Such a plan was mandated in the 2014 “cromnibus” federal spending bill and is due to Congress by Dec. 16. Dr. Tabak reviewed proposed framing elements of the plan, which is still under development, and presented a timeline for its completion which includes a public comment period anticipated for July.
NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey, Ph.D., presented a plan to implement recommendations from the Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group. To sustain and support M.D./Ph.D. training, the NIH is proposing a 10 percent expansion of Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) slots, a pilot of innovative research training programs, and an increase in loan repayment award limits. Dr. Rockey also proposed modifications to F30 policies to create two separate funding opportunities for MSTP and non-MSTP awarded institutions; and to K08/K23 policies to raise the minimum NIH salary cap, enforce protected time for research, and increase the number of awardees transitioning to R01s within five years.
The ACD was additionally presented with updates on the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Long-Term Intramural Research Program Planning Working Group Report, and the HeLa Working Group. Archived video of the meeting is available at the NIH Videocast website. The next meeting of the committee will be held via teleconference in September 2015.