NIH

NIH Publishes Update on Efforts to Address Sexual Harassment in Science

On February 28, the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released an update on efforts underway at NIH to address sexual harassment in science. The update outlines that, following the National Academies of Sciences’ report on sexual harassment of women in science, NIH established the Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) on Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment. The task of the working group is to assess the current state of sexual harassment, advise on accountability measures, propose policies, and develop strategies for encouraging research on anti-harassment policies and measures…

COSSA Submits Comments on Draft NICHD Strategic Plan

On January 2, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a request for information (RFI) to accompany the institute’s strategic plan for the next five years, allowing the community to comment on the scientific themes, goals, and opportunities under consideration in the new plan. On February 15, COSSA submitted an official response to the RFI on behalf of the social and behavioral science community. COSSA’s comments included the following recommendations: The Strategic Plan should focus on the “whole person,” to include research on development at the molecular, cellular, social, environmental, behavioral, biobehavioral, and…

NIH Requests Input on Updated Definition of “Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

On January 14, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for information (RFI): Request for Information (RFI): Input on Revised Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH (NOT-OD-19-032). NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is in the process of updating the definition of “behavioral and social sciences research” (BSSSR) that it uses to assess and monitor NIH BSSR funding. The current definition was originally developed in 1996 but has been updated periodically since then. Like the current definition, the proposed definition is somewhat lengthy (the full definition is included in the RFI). It…

White House Science Council Seeks Feedback on Opioid R&D Roadmap

The White House National Science and Technology Council is accepting comments on a report, Health Research and Development to Stem the Opioid Crisis: A National Roadmap. The report was produced by the Opioid Fast Track Action Committee (FTAC), co-chaired by Fay Lomax Cook, former Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Wilson M. Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The report is intended to support the federal response to the opioid crisis by identifying areas for research and development…

COSSA Encourages Response to NIH Clinical Trials RFI

As previously reported, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been taking steps in recent years to enhance its stewardship of and increase transparency over the clinical trials it funds. This has included the development of a new, expanded definition of the term “clinical trial,” which now applies to all research involving human subjects that involves a prospective experimental manipulation of an independent variable, and triggers the need for researchers to adhere to a number of new registering and reporting requirements using clinicaltrials.gov (see COSSA’s Hot Topic piece for details). Many basic behavioral and social science studies will be caught up in…

Trump Signs Labor-HHS Bill/CR, Pushing Remaining FY19 Spending to Dec 7

On September 28, President Trump signed into law a fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding package containing two of twelve appropriations bills, the Defense Appropriations bill and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations bill. The bill had been passed earlier in the week by the House of Representatives. Of particular interest to the social science community, the Labor-HHS bill contains next year’s final appropriation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments…

NIH Studying Impacts of Recent Hurricanes on Health Risks and Resilience

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced eight awards that will support researchers examining the health impacts of hurricanes Maria and Irma on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017. The grants, which are funded through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), will focus on the impacts of psychosocial stressors related to the recent hurricanes, “such as grief, separation from home and loved ones, loss of income, and limited access to medical care.” More information and a full list of the grantees are available on the NIH website. Back to this issue’s table…

NIH Releases RFI, Delays Enforcement of New Clinical Trials Policy

On July 20, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a Guide Notice (NOT-OD-18-212) outlining its plans to delay enforcement of key clinical trials reporting requirements for projects traditionally considered basic research. The Notice, Delayed Enforcement and Short-Term Flexibilities for Some Requirements Affecting Prospective Basic Science Studies Involving Human Participants, follows months of feedback and pressure on NIH from the external research community, including COSSA and several COSSA members, to rescind or at least delay implementation of NIH’s clinical trials policy announced in 2016. As previously reported, in an effort to enhance its stewardship of and increase transparency over the…

Senate HELP Committee Hears Update on NIH Cures Implementation

On August 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held an oversight hearing featuring leadership from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The hearing, Prioritizing Cures: Science and Stewardship at the National Institutes of Health, was chaired by HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and included testimony from NIH Director Francis Collins. Dr. Collins was joined by Diana Bianchi, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Richard Hodes, National Institute on Aging (NIA); and Norman Sharpless, National Cancer Institute (NCI). A similar…

House Holds Hearing on Cures Implementation

On July 25, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held an oversight hearing on 21st Century Cures Implementation: Updates from FDA and NIH. The 21st Century Cures Act is legislation enacted in 2016 that, among other things, provides for additional funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Authorized in the act, the Cures funding is provided through the annual appropriations bills to boost funding for priority research in areas, including the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot initiative, the BRAIN initiative, and the All of Us Precision Medicine Initiative. The hearing offered an update from agency…

House Committee Approves FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education Funding

On July 11, the full House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on June 15. This bill contains annual funding proposals for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee reported its version of the bill on June 28 (more here). At a Glance… The House bill includes…

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2019 Labor, Health Human Services, Education Bill

On June 28, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on June 26. This bill contains annual funding proposals for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies. The House Labor-HHS Subcommittee marked up its version of the bill on June 15 and released the bill text and accompanying report…

NIH Releases Data Science Strategic Plan

On June 4, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released its first strategic plan for data science. The strategic plan will serve as a roadmap for modernizing the NIH-supported biomedical data science ecosystem and provide leadership within the broader biomedical research data community. NIH will begin implementing the plan over the next year and focus on usability of NIH-funded biomedical data sets and resources, integration of existing data management tools and development of new ones, and the growing costs of data management. NIH will seek community input during the implementation phase and plans to hire a Chief Data Strategist to…

Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on 2019 NIH Budget

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) hosted leadership from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to testify on the agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request. NIH Director Francis Collins, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Director Walter Koroshetz, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless, and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow all testified. Senators from both parties praised NIH for its accomplishments, further solidifying its position as a bipartisan priority. Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member…

House Subcommittee Discusses 2019 NIH Budget

On April 11, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) heard testimony from leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 NIH budget request. NIH Director Francis Collins, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Director Diana Bianchi, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless, and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow all testified at the hearing. NIH was lauded for its accomplishments by members of both parties, further solidifying its position as a…

NIH Launches HEAL Initiative to Address the Opioid Epidemic

On April 4, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new effort to accelerate progress toward addressing the opioid addiction crisis. The Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative will use the increase in NIH funding provided by the FY 2018 omnibus bill to nearly double funding for research on opioid misuse/addiction and pain compared to FY 2016 ($1.1 billion compared to $600 million). The initiative will fund research in two broad areas: (1) Prevent addiction through enhanced pain management, and (2) Improve treatments for opioid misuse disorder and addiction. Within the preventing addiction portfolio, NIH proposes to launch…

NIH Takes Next Steps in Agency Reorganization Plans

As part of the Trump Administration’s government reform agenda, including its comprehensive plan for reorganizing the executive branch and reducing the federal civilian workforce, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created an initiative called ReImagine HHS. As part of this initiative, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched Optimize NIH in December 2017 to improve organizational effectiveness and performance. NIH is working to equilibrate workload distribution across scientific review and grants and program management functions and anticipates that the Optimize NIH effort will be fully implemented over the next two to three years. Research functions are not…

House Members Join Together to Support NIH, Title VI International Education in Dear Colleague Letters

As Congress begins deliberations on fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending, groups of Representatives have joined together to express their support for federal programs, including those important to the social and behavioral sciences. A bipartisan group of 82 representatives signed on to a “Dear Colleague letter” in support of the Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays and Title VI international education programs. The letter calls for at least $72.16 million for the two programs. Separately, a bipartisan group of 209 Representatives also joined together to express support, and request $38.4 billion, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Back to this issue’s table…

OBSSR Soliciting Papers for 11th Annual Matilda White Riley Honors

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking paper submissions for its Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition as part of the 11th Annual Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Science Honors. Early stage investigators are encouraged to submit one published article from 2017 that reflects social and behavioral science advancements helping to enhance life, lengthen life, reduce illness, and reduce disability. Honorees will present their findings on May 31, 2018 in a public event on the NIH campus. Submissions are due by February 18 and more information can be found…

NIH Continues to Tweak Policy for Investing in Young Researchers

As previously reported, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced over the summer a new policy aimed at increasing the number of early career investigators competing successfully for NIH grants. The Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) included two new definitions of early career investigators: Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) would include researchers who completed their degrees within the last 10 years and have not yet received their first NIH grant; Early Established Investigators (EEIs) would have to be within 10 years of receiving their first independent R01-equivelent research award. In a presentation to the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director last…

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