Washington Update

NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs Provides Mid-point Update on Strategic Plan

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

In last week’s meeting of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils, Franziska Grieder, DVM, PhD, Director of NIH’s Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP), provided an update on the implementation of its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

ORIP’s mission is to support research infrastructure and innovation programs, and the strategic plan outlines ways to address three high priority areas: 1) developing models of human diseases; 2) accelerating discovery with state-of-the-art instrumentation; and 3) training and diversifying the biomedical workforce.

In March 2015, FASEB submitted comments to ORIP in response to a Request for Information seeking input on program scope and possible future directions to maximize the benefits of animal research. FASEB’s recommendations included continued centralized support for animal repositories, increasing the number of veterinarians trained in biomedical science, and sustained support for the National Primate Research Centers. The final plan, released in April 2015, incorporated several of FASEB’s suggestions.

During her presentation, Dr. Grieder provided examples of the plan’s execution and how it has strengthened the ORIP mission. Highlights included:

  • Increased training for veterinarians with new funding opportunities (R03 and LRP awards).
  • The new Shared Instrumentation for Animal Research (SIFAR) Program – a cost-efficient benefit to thousands of NIH-funded investigators – has given access to state-of-the-art instruments normally too expensive to obtain on an individual grant.
  • Improvements to preservation and animal model resources, such as aquatic models, has increased access and data collection.

ORIP’s next strategic plan will be developed in the coming months and presented to the Council of Councils for input.