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Strategic Planning Process

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.

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

  1. PLANNING: PHASES 1 AND 2 (18 MONTHS).

    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.

  2. IMPLEMENTATION (5-10 YEARS)

    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.

  3. TRANSITION (OVER 10 YEARS)

    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.

This page last reviewed on February 7, 2024