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Strategic Directions

Help NIA map out our strategic direction

As you know, NIA’s Strategic Directions document serves several purposes. It acts as a point of reference for setting scientific priorities; a framework for systematic analysis of the NIA’s research portfolio; and a benchmark against which we can assess progress. Perhaps most importantly, the Strategic Directions are a definitive statement of the NIA’s scientific priority areas within the rapidly evolving field of aging research.

NIH's priorities in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: Let your voice be heard!

Research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) is an important component of the NIA’s mission. In recent years, Congress has provided a significant amount of additional funding beyond our typical appropriation for us to accelerate research on the basic biology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care related to this devastating group of diseases. With this additional funding comes the responsibility to plan and set priorities for the funds’ use.

NIA's updated strategic directions: A roadmap for progress

At the National Institute on Aging, our shared vision is one in which all Americans enjoy robust health and independence with advancing age. Although we have come far in 40 years of supporting and  conducting research, we in the scientific community will need to think broadly, creatively, intelligently—and strategically—to pursue this goal most effectively. I am proud to let you know that an updated version of NIA’s Strategic Directions, Aging Well in the 21st Century, is now available.

Cognitive reserve research reaches for the STARRRS

How do some older adults retain relatively normal or youthful thinking and memory abilities despite the presence of neurodegeneration or Alzheimer’s-related pathology in the brain? This phenomenon, known as cognitive reserve, is the subject of not only an upcoming new data and biomedical sample resource, but also a related request...

Seeking alternative animal models for Alzheimer's disease

Although knowledge of Alzheimer’s biology has advanced tremendously during the past three decades, many efforts to develop effective drugs or treatments have been unsuccessful. So, while we have been able to cure the disease in mouse models of the disease, we have not been able to translate these advances to...

Tune in to the 2019 Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit

While Alzheimer’s disease often is in the spotlight as the most common cause of dementia in older adults, the “ADRDs” or Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias, are also a vital and urgent part of our research agenda. Please join us for the next step in discussing and setting dementia research priorities, the...

What are your priorities for aging research?

At NIA, we share an ambitious goal with our colleagues in the research community: To understand the nature of aging and the aging process and diseases and conditions associated with growing older in order to extend healthy, active years of life for all Americans. But the basic biologists, clinicians, behavioral research specialists, demographers, and experts in dozens of other scientific specialties supported by NIA will necessarily have different interests, concerns, and strategies toward achieving that common goal.

Building the next generation of biomedical researchers

The Grant Support Index. At the moment, if you bring up these words around NIH, you are guaranteed an extended conversation, meetings that run long and late, and strong emotions bubbling throughout. I suspect much the same is happening on many campuses.

Strategic Directions for Research on Aging

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 are updating our Strategic Directions, and I am seeking your input.

Working with Congress

The NIA recently hired someone new, Melinda Kelley, to help us work with Congress, outside groups, and others who would like to interact with NIA leadership. The person who previously filled this role, the wonderful Tamara Jones, retired at the beginning of the year.

Government agencies like the NIA must have a point of contact for Members of Congress and their staff. Legislation, including appropriations, affects all aspects of biomedical research. We communicate with Congress about programs and policies, providing information about new initiatives and developments in research. We also provide technical assistance when requested. This is not the responsibility of NIA alone: researchers all over the country are a powerful voice helping Congress understand the value of medical research to its constituents.