Help Choose the Next Roadmap Initiatives
I'd like to draw the entire cancer community's attention to a Request for Information (RFI) in the October 20 issue of NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. This important new RFI is soliciting suggestions for new initiatives that will improve and accelerate biomedical and behavioral research and its impact on public health, to be implemented under the aegis of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
The feedback generated will build the foundation from which five to eight new Roadmap initiatives will be launched, from within the currently projected Roadmap budget, beginning in Fiscal Year 2008.
With this RFI, NIH is reaching out to as broad an audience as possible - the scientific community, health professionals, patient advocates, and the general public - to amass a broad array of novel and transformative ideas. On behalf of the NCI leadership team, I encourage the entire cancer community to participate in this process, nominating novel ideas on topics such as new ways to overcome barriers to research, accelerate translation of scientific discoveries, and fill research gaps that do not fall within the mission of any single NIH Institute or Center (IC).
The Roadmap is often described as an "incubator space" for initiatives that cut across scientific disciplines but that also represent "high-risk" projects that, under normal circumstances, might not be funded. That framework will continue with this new batch of initiatives.
In formulating your suggestions, please take special note of the inclusion criteria outlined in the RFI and that responses must be submitted by November 17.
I've already had an opportunity to participate in this endeavor. This summer, along with NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni and National Institute of Mental Health Director Dr. Thomas Insel, I co-chaired one of five "consultation sessions" that represented the first phase of the process to identify these new initiatives. During these sessions, participating scientists, who represented a broad range of disciplines, discussed major impediments to rapid advances in biomedical research and how to possibly overcome them.
The second phase entailed all IC directors submitting their top ideas/initiatives for consideration. This RFI is the last, and perhaps most important, phase. In addition to submitting ideas, I also encourage you to review and provide feedback on the ideas nominated to date via the consultation sessions and IC Directors.
By the spring of 2007, all of the new ideas generated via this three-phase process will have been vetted, grouped into topic areas, and prioritized by the NIH IC Directors and the NIH Director, who will consult with the Advisory Council to the Director prior to selection of an FY08 cohort of new initiatives.
Based on the initial experience with the first round of NIH Roadmap initiatives - 379 grants to 326 investigators - and some of the available results from the first round of Roadmap-funded projects, I believe this second wave will also produce significant advances.
I encourage members of the cancer community to learn more about the Roadmap's goals and areas of focus and to take advantage of such a unique opportunity to influence biomedical research and patient care.
Dr. John E. Niederhuber