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Goal G: Support the infrastructure and resources needed to promote high-quality research

The availability of the infrastructure, resources, and training needed to support present and future research, program management, and information dissemination is critical to the NIA mission. NIA will provide resources to develop a skilled interdisciplinary research workforce, ensure that scientists have access to the technology and equipment they need to perform the research, promote clinical research participation, and facilitate the dissemination of research results to scientists, health professionals, and the public.

Goal G objectives:

Approach

G-1: Foster interdisciplinary exchange and encourage collaborative research across disciplines.

  • Support workshops and conferences that bring scientists from various disciplines together for discussion and planning.

  • Provide funding opportunities that encourage interdisciplinary efforts and/or partnerships across two or more institutions or organizations.

  • Facilitate dialogue with researchers and professional organizations.

G-2: Engage in partnerships within and among institutions and organizations as well as patient and advocacy groups.

  • Work closely with other NIH Institutes and Centers, other government agencies, and the private sector to collaborate across the continuum of research from basic science through translational research to clinical studies.

  • Partner with other government agencies, professional organizations, private funders of research, and international research groups to collect data and other resources to facilitate understanding of science on a global level.

  • Continue to participate in trans-NIH efforts such as the NIH Common Fund and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.

  • Partner with other government agencies, professional organizations, and advocacy groups to ensure that research results are translated into public health programs and medical practice and used to inform public policy.

  • Collaborate with public and private partners to make results of research and other findings on successful patient recruitment strategies, including strategies targeted to minority and special populations, widely available to the research community.

G-3: Train and attract the workforce necessary for rigorous research on aging, including new, midcareer, and senior investigators.

  • Develop and promote flexible mechanisms to meet the rapidly changing needs of science and prepare scientists, clinicians, and communicators to work effectively in interdisciplinary team environments across the continuum of research.

  • Develop partnerships with academia, professional organizations, and other entities to establish and improve programs for identifying, recruiting, and training scholars for careers in research on aging.

  • Participate in NIH efforts to improve recruitment, training, and retention of scientists across the full spectrum of research on aging.

  • Expand bioethics training for investigators to address issues specific to older adults in research.

G-4: Attract and train more researchers from diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds.

Participate in NIH efforts to narrow the racial gap in grant approval. Work to recruit, train, and retain scientists from underrepresented groups, including people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds; gender identities; ages; and socioeconomic, geographic, and disability status.

G-5: Develop, maintain, and share research resources.

  • Support colonies of aged animal models that are necessary for research on aging processes and specific age-related diseases.

  • Make available cell cultures and tissue, cell, and blood banks for basic and epidemiological research.

  • Create and make available DNA resources for genetic studies on aging and disease.

  • Support access to imaging and other advanced technologies in shared facilities for examining aging biological systems.

  • Support the development of population-based datasets, especially from longitudinal studies, suitable for analysis of biological, behavioral, and social factors affecting health, well-being, and functional status through the life course.

  • Support data archiving and data sharing. Consider innovative means for cost-effectively sharing data that expand research use while reducing disclosure risk.

  • Support the development of internationally harmonized biological, social, and behavioral longitudinal data on aging to foster cross-national research.

  • Support computer technologies to record and analyze interdisciplinary research findings on basic biological studies and long-term, population-based data.

  • Implement efforts to encourage older adults, including individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups, to participate in research and increase the numbers of participants in clinical trials.

  • Support candidate drug evaluation programs, facilities, and related resources for animal and clinical studies.

  • Develop innovative changes in the design, planning, and implementation of clinical trials and social and behavioral studies on the health and well-being of older adults.

G-6: Develop the necessary infrastructure to encourage translation of research between basic discovery and intervention development.

Translational research links scientific discoveries with their application in medical practice and public health. For research on aging, basic discoveries typically begin with studies at the molecular or cellular level that help us understand the mechanisms of normal aging and disease or with basic behavioral or social science that uncovers potential mechanisms driving differences in aging processes across individuals, groups, and geographical regions. New knowledge gained in the laboratory or field may then take a variety of paths to human intervention. Equally important, however, are the basic and mechanistic insights gained in the context of intervention development and testing. Several NIH initiatives are focusing on ways the biomedical and behavioral science community can more successfully support translational activities that embody this process of back-and-forth translation. NIA will continue to:

  • Identify and optimize opportunities for moving new knowledge from basic discovery to intervention development and back. We will continue to support promising preclinical studies, and community as well as health systems research. We will also work to ensure that new technologies such as advanced imaging and bioinformatics and other resources needed for effective translational research are accessible to scientists and clinicians.

  • Support a robust clinical trials infrastructure to facilitate the translation of basic research to human application in age-related diseases and vice versa. This support will include technical assistance for patient recruitment and retention of older adults in clinical trials.

  • Foster communication and partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers and with other federal agencies as well as with other national and international research organizations. NIA will continue to collaborate with other NIH Institutes and Centers on projects with a multidisciplinary focus such as the NIH Common Fund, the GeroScience Interest Group, and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. We will continue to participate in partnerships with outside organizations to share resources, support collaborative research, eliminate barriers to drug development, and communicate research findings to the public.