Request for Information (RFI): To Solicit Input and Ideas for Roadmap Trans-NIH Strategic Initiatives

Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-011

Key Dates
Release Date: October 20, 2006
Response Date: November 17, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director, Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI),

The NIH is seeking input from the scientific community, health professionals, patient advocates, and the general public about innovative and cross - cutting initiatives that will improve and accelerate biomedical research and its impact on the health of the Nation. Collecting these ideas is an initial step in the process of identifying a new cohort of Roadmap trans - NIH strategic initiatives for Fiscal Year 2008. This idea-gathering phase has also included obtaining input from scientist consultants and the NIH Institutes and Centers. This RFI provides an opportunity for respondents to submit their own ideas and to view ideas nominated to date. The NIH expects to spend $30 - 50 million per year from within the currently projected Roadmap budget for approximately 5-8 new 5-year (or in exceptional cases up to 10-year) initiatives.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the world leader in funding of biomedical research. It consists of 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs) and the Office of the Director, which includes four scientific programmatic offices, each of which coordinates research across the NIH in specific areas (AIDS, Women's Health, Disease Prevention, and Behavioral/Social Sciences). The ICs and Offices differ in their mandated health missions and the areas of scientific research that they support, but certain types of research and research infrastructure span many of their missions.

In an effort to provide for strategic, coordinated planning in areas that cut across the missions of individual ICs and Offices, the NIH Director began a series of discussions in 2003 with NIH stakeholders and the scientific community to identify major opportunities and gaps in biomedical and behavioral research that the agency as a whole needed to address. These discussions ultimately led to the creation of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research . The NIH Roadmap is intended to be an incubator space for programs that, due to their cross-cutting relevance and/or complexity, warrant concerted attention from NIH as a whole. Consistent with its incubator function, the Roadmap stimulates research or the development of research resources with the expectation that the programs will either be completed within a 5-10 year timeframe or will transition out of the incubator space as they become integral to IC activities.

The NIH Roadmap is now in its fourth year of implementation. Three types of programs have been funded:

  1. Cross - cutting, critical infrastructure, resources, tools, methodologies, and training programs to enable basic, translational, and/or clinical research.
  2. Fundamental research that addresses knowledge gaps which, when filled, will create new paradigms in our understanding of a broad spectrum of human biology, behavior, or disease.
  3. Initiatives designed to transform biomedical and behavioral research culture, including programs that encourage team approaches to complex problems as well as policy initiatives that have changed NIH practices.

In preparation for the transition of the first cohort of Roadmap initiatives out of the incubator space , the NIH is gathering ideas for a second cohort of Roadmap initiatives.

(For descriptive information on the Roadmap initiatives go to: and for Roadmap funded research please visit: )

Request for Information

This RFI invites input and ideas from the scientific community, health professionals, patient advocates, and the general public on ways to:

  • address specific barriers to basic, translational, or clinical research through development of novel tools, technologies, services, etc.
  • fill knowledge gaps that impede research across a broad spectrum of health science .

We invite you to submit individual ideas and/or to view the ideas that have been submitted to date. All ideas should meet the following criteria for new trans-NIH strategic initiatives :

Is the proposed initiative truly transforming could it dramatically affect how biomedical and/or behavioral research is conducted over the next decade?

Will the outcomes from the proposed initiatives synergistically promote and advance the individual missions of the Institutes and Centers to benefit health?

Does the proposed initiative require participation from NIH as a whole and/or does it address an area (s) of science that does not clearly fall within the mission of any one IC or OD program office?

Is the proposed initiative something that no other entity is likely or able to do, and is there a public health benefit to having the results of the research in the public domain ?

In addition to these general criteria, selection of initiatives will be based on whether the proposed programs can either be achieved within a 5-10 year time frame or can be expected to become integrated with IC funded research within that time frame. The selection will also take into consideration current research funding, with the intent of stimulating research in new or fledgling research areas that also meet all of the criteria stated above. The ideas should not be disease specific and should not address problems or opportunities that fall under the purview of one NIH Institute or Center.


Responses will be accepted through Friday, November 17, 2006 . Persons, groups, and organizations interested in submitting ideas are invited to submit up to three ideas in which a health research problem is identified along with a proposal to resolve it.

Nominations for new ideas and comments on previously submitted ideas can be entered at the following web site:

Responses to any individual elements of the RFI are optional. The NIH site will permit anonymous responses. Responders should be aware that the information provided will be analyzed and may appear in various reports. Additionally, the government cannot guarantee the confidentiality of the information provided.

Proposed Implementation Plan

All nominations submitted will be screened to ensure they meet the criteria for Roadmap trans-NIH strategic initiatives outlined above and will be examined in light of existing or planned research. They will then be reviewed and prioritized by NIH IC Directors and the NIH Director, who will consult with the Advisory Council to the Director (ACD) prior to selection of an FY08 cohort of new initiatives.