BOX 3-1The Priority-Setting Process at NIAID

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) planning process is organized around two major, institute-wide planning meetings that engage the institute director, scientific program head, and senior management staff in a collective effort to identify and establish priorities for future research. The process is designed in sequence with the federal budget formulation process and is thus focused 2 years into the future.

The first step in the process is the Summer Policy Retreat, which provides a forum for planning future scientific directions, for example, tuberculosis research, development of a malaria research strategy, impact of managed care on NIAID research, and human immunodeficiency virus vaccine research. Discussions from this retreat are then transmitted to the NIAID Advisory Council for feedback and input.

A Winter Program review is then convened to consider the deliberations that have preceded it and to define current gaps in knowledge, emerging public health needs, and research opportunities. Specific initiatives are then ranked within a budget projection. Following the Winter Program review, divisions of NIAID submit their proposed initiatives to the budget office. The institute director, in consultation with senior management, then selects the initiatives that will become part of the budget submission to the NIH director. These plans are also submitted to the NIAID Advisory Council for review.

Throughout the process, the institute director and the division directors meet with national organizations, voluntary health organizations, and professional societies. Focus groups are convened at scientific and professional society meetings to receive further input. Input from patient groups occurs at the community level through patient participation on local and national advisory boards that have been established to provide advice to large clinical trials networks.

From: 3, Priority-Setting Processes

Cover of Scientific Opportunities and Public Needs
Scientific Opportunities and Public Needs: Improving Priority Setting and Public Input at the National Institutes of Health.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the NIH Research Priority-Setting Process.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1998.
Copyright © 1998, National Academy of Sciences.

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