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Strategic Directions for Research on Aging

Dr. Richard Hodes
Richard J. HODES,
Office of the Director (OD)

Like many other Institutes at NIH, the NIA assesses and updates its research directions every few years. This exercise is an important one, resulting in a Strategic Directions document that helps set and communicate priorities for the Institute and for aging research.

We invite your comment on the NIA draft Strategic Directions.

We are updating our Strategic Directions, and I am seeking your input. A formal Request for Information, or RFI, has been issued that asks for your comments on the draft update. As I mentioned at the NIA 40th anniversary symposium at the Gerontological Society of America meeting last week, we very much look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Why is your feedback so important to us?

NIA is your institute. Our mission and directions are on behalf of the public, from the research community to older individuals. So we need to hear your voices to allow us to prepare a document that truly does reflect an ambitious and fitting agenda for the times ahead. Feedback from you and your peers is critical.

My team will read and consider all feedback submitted by December 15. You can even write to us anonymously.

View the draft Strategic Directions document here: Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging (PDF, 440K). To submit comments, please see our Request for Information.

With comments in hand, we will revise and finalize NIA’s 2015 Strategic Directions. The final version will be available to you online, and we will distribute it widely via social media and even a few hard copies.

What does this NIA Strategic Directions document say?

We outline broad themes in aging research and major challenges and exciting opportunities in specific areas of:

  • basic biology of aging
  • clinical and behavioral research
  • neuroscience
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • and more

We describe how the NIA can take action in these areas in the coming years. We all want to contribute to and enable future discoveries that will improve the health and well-being of aging Americans. I think you’ll agree that we are poised to make extraordinary discoveries in aging research.

Our Strategic Directions document asks questions like these:

  • At this moment in time, what areas of basic and translational research are primed for acceleration into clinical testing?
  • In basic science, where might we discover new and better targets to intervene on age-related cognitive decline or physical frailty?

These questions cut across our research divisions and our in-house Intramural Research Program. At their core is the imperative to improve the quality of life for all older adults.

The NIA Strategic Directions document takes a comprehensive and detailed look at our programs. It doesn’t lend itself to a quick read. I ask, however, that you please take the time to consider it fully and give us your best suggestions. While moving forward on specific projects is of course subject to the availability of funds, we encourage comments on areas of scientific opportunity and potential progress.  I hope you’ll find our draft plans an interesting and inspiring read.

Celebrating 40 years – NIA milestone and anniversary

This month, the National Institute on Aging also thanks and honors the researchers, supporters, and dedicated staff that have propelled the organization over the 40 years since our founding. I was pleased to see so many of you at the anniversary symposium on November 8 and to have the opportunity to thank you personally. We heard wonderful descriptions of NIA history and impact from grantees Eileen Crimmins, Steve Austad and Kevin High (also a current member of the National Advisory Council on Aging), as well as NIA leaders Luigi Ferrucci, Neil Buckholtz, and Marie Bernard. Many of you volunteered reminiscences of the early, pioneering days in aging research and of the institute. We celebrate NIA’s legacy moving forward–as a champion for older people and for the research that every day seeks to improve all of our lives.

These photographs were shared at the 40th anniversary symposium.


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