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 (Idea Gathering) are refined into a series of well-defined programs and initiatives in Phase 2 (Strategy Development). In Phase 1, ideas for potential new Common Fund programs may be solicited from NIH Leadership, NIH Institute, Center, and Office 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 2026

To plan for new Common Fund programs beginning in fiscal year 2026 or beyond, the Common Fund has issued a public Request for Information (NOT-RM-23-013: NIH Common Fund is Soliciting Ideas for NIH-wide Challenges and Opportunities). This Request for Information seeks ideas for biomedical and behavioral research challenges and opportunities that have NIH-wide relevance and may be of interest to the Common Fund. Ideas gathered through this process may inform activities to address these challenges/opportunities, such as scientific workshops, pilot initiatives, and/or future Common Fund programs. 

Additionally, NIH Institute, Center, and Office Directors are invited to submit their ideas for potential new Common Fund programs. They will also consider ideas submitted through the Request for Information as they develop their ideas. 

In early 2024, ideas emerging from the planning process will be discussed with and prioritized by NIH Institute, Center, and Office Directors. Additional updates about the status of the planning process will be provided on this page as they become available. 

Strategic Planning for Fiscal Year 2025

To plan for new Common Fund programs to begin in fiscal year 2025 or beyond, the Common Fund solicited ideas through a public Request for Information (NOT-RM-22-016: Request for Information - Soliciting ideas for new Common Fund programs). Additionally, NIH Institute and Center Directors were invited to develop new program ideas. Ideas gathered through these activities were prioritized and discussed at a Common Fund retreat with NIH Institute and Center Directors in March 2023. Informed by input from NIH Institute and Center Directors, the NIH Director selected one idea for further development:

  • A potential new program to catalyze the development, standardization, validation, and use of new methods and approaches that will more accurately model human biology. We anticipate these new methods and approaches would complement or, in some cases, replace traditional animal models, transforming the way we do basic, translational, and clinical sciences.

This concept is still in development, and the scope and direction are subject to change. More information about this concept will be posted as it becomes available. 

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, and invited the NIH community to submit their ideas via a crowdsourcing online platform, thereby leveraging the collective expertise across NIH. Ideas generated through this process were prioritized by NIH leadership. The new Common Fund program currently being pursued from this process is:

  • Human Virome Program: to characterize the human virome to yield greater understanding of the viruses we harbor and their impact on human health. This program concept was cleared by the DPCPSI Council of Councils in September 2022 (view the presentation). 

Launch of the Human Virome Program is planned for fiscal year 2024, pending availability of funds. 



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 June 2, 2023