Public-Private Partnerships (For Archival Purposes Only)



For more information on NIH Public-Private Partnerships, visit 

NIH often partners with representatives of industry, academia and patient advocates, among others, to support and conduct medical research to improve human health. Each partner brings its unique resources and strengths to the table and the resulting synergy improves and speeds progress toward common goals.

Partnerships between government agencies and private industry already have extended and accelerated NIH research, research training and the dissemination of information in diverse and creative ways. For example, the Osteoarthritis Initiative partnership is poised to do something that neither government nor private industry could accomplish alone-establish a database of radiological images, biomarkers and physical exams as objective and measurable standards for the progression of this painful and disabling disease. Currently, there is no effective treatment for osteoarthritis, so new therapies are acutely needed by the millions of Americans affected by this disorder. The seven-year project to recruit 5,000 men and women age 50 and older at high risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee is funded by several NIH institutes, along with the pharmaceutical companies Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. and Pfizer. The data collected through the initiative will be available to researchers to quicken the pace of scientific studies and to speed progress toward better treatments.

The kind of far-reaching progress anticipated for biomedical research in the 21st century will require even more research collaboration among public and private sectors. As researchers tackle ever more complex biomedical problems, strategic partnerships between NIH, private industry and nonprofit organizations will become more important. NIH has mechanisms in place to encourage partnerships among researchers in academia, government and the private sector. Promoting and facilitating new and ongoing partnerships is the mission of the Program on Public Private Partnerships, located in the Office of Science Policy (OSP) within the NIH's Office of the Director.

The NIH Public-Private Partnership program office will serve as a resource to NIH staff on such partnerships, share best practices across the NIH, and coordinate NIH-wide exchange of information. Assistance provided may range from assistance with the details related to a new or established partnership functioning to help in identifying partners and partnership models to initiate new and innovative projects within or among ICs. With an eye toward keeping pace with changes in the business sector and dealing with concerns about intellectual property, patents, and licensing rights, the Public-Private Partnerships Program office will work with relevant NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices to review existing partnership mechanisms and provide recommendations for policies or legal authorities needed to achieve NIH's objectives. The Program on Public-Private Partnerships will also work closely with the Foundation of the NIH, a private charitable foundation chartered to help support NIH activities ( Exit Disclaimer), as appropriate. The Program on Public-Private Partnerships will also serve as a point of contact for entities wishing to partner with NIH and can provide contact information and advice regarding the initiation, establishment and implementation of new partnerships. This effort will complement, not replace, the role of the Institutes and Centers as they work with the private sector to serve their missions.

This page last reviewed on February 18, 2016