Common Fund Program Lifecycle


Strategic Planning: Phases 1 and 2


The Common Fund is intended to be a flexible resource for NIH to make strategic investments in programs that will have high impact NIH-wide. Strategic planning is undertaken regularly to identify research areas that address key roadblocks in biomedical research or that represent emerging scientific opportunities ripe for Common Fund investment.


Strategic planning involves the identification of trans-NIH challenges and opportunities that address the Common Fund criteria. Broad topics identified in Phase 1 are refined into a series of well-defined programs and initiatives in Phase 2. In Phase 1, ideas for potential new Common Fund programs may be solicited from NIH Leadership, NIH Institute and Center Directors, and members of the broad scientific community. In Phase 2, refinement of ideas may include analyses of the NIH, national, and international research portfolios; workshops and meetings with scientific experts in the field; and input from scientific leaders across the NIH. The Council of Councils for the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) acts as an external advisory panel to the DPCPSI and NIH Directors for consideration of potential new Common Fund programs. Final decisions on new Common Fund programs are made by NIH Leadership, with input from DPCPSI and NIH Institute and Center Directors. 

Strategic Planning Updates

Strategic Planning for Fiscal Year 2023

Planning for potential new Common Fund programs for fiscal year 2023 leveraged the wide-ranging expertise of NIH's senior leaders and scientific staff. One program, Somatic Mosaicism Across Human Tissues (SMAHT) originated in a prior year's strategic planning process and was cleared by the DPCPSI Council of Councils in May 2021 (view the presentation). Another concept, still in development, will focus on advancing health disparities research through a coordinated, multi-initiative Common Fund program. Finally, the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program plans to launch a second stage, focused on enabling transfer of genome editing approaches into the clinic. This concept was cleared by the Council of Councils in September 2021 (view the presentation). 

Strategic Planning for Fiscal Year 2024

To plan for new Common Fund programs to begin in fiscal year 2024 or beyond, OSC hosted small group brainstorming sessions with NIH Institute, Center, and Office Directors in the fall of 2021 to discuss emerging opportunities and pressing challenges that are high-priority and can best be addressed through strategic investment by the Common Fund. Additionally, OSC invited the NIH community to submit their ideas for potential future Common Fund programs via a crowdsourcing online platform, thereby leveraging the collective expertise across NIH. Ideas generated through this process will be prioritized by NIH leadership for further planning and development as possible Common Fund programs to launch in fiscal year 2024 or beyond. Identification of ideas that will move forward for further development is expected in late 2021 or early 2022.



As each Common Fund program is unique, the implementation of each program varies. To read more about the currently supported Common Fund programs, see Common Fund Programs.



Common Fund programs are designed to achieve a set of high-impact goals within a 5-10 year time frame. At the conclusion of each program, deliverables will either stimulate IC-funded research or will transition to support by ICs or other entities that find these resources useful. Programs that have transitioned from Common Fund support can be found on the Former Programs page.

Common Fund programs are evaluated throughout the lifecycle as the need arises.

This page last reviewed on November 1, 2021