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Center for Research Strategy (CRS)

CRS Mission Statement

To apply scientific, strategic, analytic, and evaluative expertise to inform decision making, identify cross-cutting opportunities, and collaborate on initiatives that advance the missions of NCI and NIH.

The NCI Center for Research Strategy (CRS) is a strategic science planning and analysis office that serves the NCI Director and supports NCI priorities.

Located within the Office of the Director (OD), the Center conducts planning and analysis activities that support strategic decision making. Data-driven decision making is a critical component of NCI’s resource and research portfolio management. CRS efforts provide the data needed for program management, policy making, and strategic planning.

CRS also develops methodologies and leverages cutting edge technologies to better understand and communicate the impact of the NCI enterprise. These endeavors underpin and enhance the work of the Center.

CRS serves as a scientific resource to offices within the NCI OD as those offices respond to Congressional inquiries, tell NCI’s story to the public, and respond to stakeholders. The Center is NCI’s liaison to the NIH and the broader research community on topics related to strategic planning, portfolio analysis, science planning and evaluation, and other projects.

Supporting the Mission of the NCI

CRS conducts activities to support cancer research across the nation to advance scientific knowledge and help people live longer, healthier lives. These include:

Preparing the NCI Annual Plan and Budget Proposal

This scientific planning and budget document is sent to the President and Congress each fiscal year to advise them of NCI’s best professional judgment on the funding needed to make the most rapid progress against cancer. CRS engages with NCI staff and extramural researchers to gather ideas for research areas that would benefit from additional support. The Center also works with stakeholders to highlight accomplishments that communicate the impact of the nation’s investment in cancer research and to build a vision for the future. CRS collaborates with NCI’s budget, congressional relations, and communications offices to formulate a budget and communicate the plan.

Conducting Analysis and Evaluation at NCI

CRS performs analyses for the NCI Office of the Director and in collaboration with NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers (DOCs) in a variety of areas such as scientific topics, funding mechanisms, and investigator characteristics associated with NCI and NIH grant applications and funded projects. Each analysis is tailored to a specific research question or goal and is grounded in a solid understanding of NIH policy and data, as well as the context of the NCI budget and NCI’s position within NIH. CRS collaborates within NCI and across NIH to use the most appropriate and current data sources and tools available. Importantly, CRS interprets and presents analyses to support data-driven decision clearly and concisely, with appropriate acknowledgement of caveats and limitations.

Evaluation is an important component of data-driven decision making. CRS consults with the NCI Office of the Director and the DOCs on evaluation-related projects, analyses, and requests. In addition, CRS conducts evaluations for select trans-NCI priority areas and represents NCI in trans-NIH evaluation-focused efforts.

Leading NCI Planning and Evaluation (P&E) Activities within the NIH community

CRS staff serve as the institute’s planning and evaluation (P&E) representatives (also known as P&E officers) to the NIH community. As NCI’s P&E office, CRS collects, compiles, synthesizes, and prepares information from across the NCI for legislatively mandated reports that demonstrate the progress of NIH biomedical research. CRS also responds to recurring and ad hoc information inquiries from the White House, Congress, the Department of Health & Human Services, and others. CRS works closely with the NCI Office of Government and Congressional Relations on select activities, including responses to address requests or recommendations from Congress and other areas of government. The P&E-related activities performed by CRS aid in policy development and adherence, strategic planning, analysis, evaluation, and monitoring the research progress of NCI and NIH.