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NIA’s Strategic Directions: Priorities for continued progress

Kate Nagy
Kate NAGY,
Deputy Director, Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation,
Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (OPAE)
.

I am pleased to announce that NIA’s Strategic Directions document for 2020-2025 is now available. The National Institute on Aging: Strategic Directions for Research provides a point of reference for setting future priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the institute’s scientific portfolio and assessing progress. For researchers, it clearly signals NIA’s scientific priority areas within the rapidly evolving field of aging research.

With coordination through the NIA Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation, NIA developed and refined our strategic goals with input from the research community, non-governmental organizations, NIH colleagues and others within the federal government, and the general public. We gathered this information in multiple ways, including through our strategic directions Request for Information, and, for the first time, by asking our “Inside NIA” blog readers to weigh in. Members of the NIA National Advisory Council on Aging also provided crucial, constructive contributions.

This document is organized around three principal “functional areas” as the foundation of NIA’s plans and priorities: Understanding the Dynamics of the Aging Process; Improving the Health, Well-Being, and Independence of Adults as they Age; and Supporting the Research Enterprise. We also followed 21st Century Cures Act guidelines for strategic plans developed within U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies. The act requires agencies to add new information about health disparities, performance measurement, and effective internal operations. In response, NIA:

  • Included new language focused on women’s health under Goal F, which addresses disparities related to aging and improving the health of older adults in diverse populations
  • Described our efforts to effectively steward public resources under Goal I
  • Added descriptions of our planning (page 44) and performance measurement (page 4) processes

While our strategic directions plan covers the breadth and depth of research within NIA’s mission, this is not the sole way to identify NIA research priorities. NIA also leads production of the annual NIH Professional Judgment Budget for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. Our Fiscal Year 2022 “Bypass Budget” will be released this July. We also will continue to signal our institutional priorities in other ways, such as through our Funding Opportunity Announcements, conferences and workshops, and in other ways that we will share right here via the “Inside NIA” blog.

For now, we encourage you to review our new strategic directions and let us know what you think!

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