Request for Information (RFI): Input into the Scientific Strategic Plan for the proposed National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders

Notice Number: NOT-OD-12-045

Key Dates
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Response Date:  May 11, 2012

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Purpose

This Notice is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) soliciting input into the Scientific Strategic Plan for the proposed new Institute with the working name of the National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders. This new Institute would result from the proposed reorganization of substance use, abuse, and addiction-related research at the NIH.

Background
In September 2010, the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), established pursuant to Sec. 401(e) of the PHS Act, recommended that NIH create a new Institute focused on substance use, abuse, and addiction-related research.  After extensive discussions with experts from within and outside the NIH, the SMRB found that the current organization of substance use, abuse, and addiction research at the NIH is not optimal for fulfilling the agency’s mission or optimizing research in substance use, abuse, and addiction. The SMRB recommended that the NIH Director establish a new Institute focusing on addiction-related research and public health initiatives. The SMRB also recommended that the reorganization should encompass all addiction-related research within the NIH, not just the programs of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The SMRB recommended that NIDA and NIAAA be dissolved and that the non-addiction research activities within their portfolios be transferred to other NIH Institutes and Centers. The November 2010 report containing the full set of recommendations made by the SMRB can be found at: http://smrb.od.nih.gov/documents/announcements/SUAA_112010.pdf.

NIH has given careful consideration to the SMRB findings and agrees that the current organization of substance use, abuse, and addiction-related research at NIH does not optimally capitalize on existing and potential synergies that could be facilitated within a single Institute.   Further, NIH agrees with the SMRB that such reorganization would better enable recognition and development of scientific opportunities in substance use, abuse, and addiction research, assist in meeting public health needs, and improve training opportunities for the next generation of investigators.

As such, NIH proposes to create a new Institute, with the working name of the National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders,” through inclusion in the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2014.  A planning committee that includes scientific representatives from the potentially affected Institutes and Centers is developing a Scientific Strategic Plan for the proposed Institute with the primary goal of identifying new scientific opportunities that are not currently supported in the existing NIH research portfolios and public health initiatives on substance use, abuse, and addiction-related disorders.

Informed by the SMRB findings and after internal discussions, NIH has developed a preliminary list of potential scientific opportunities and public health needs that are not sufficiently addressed within the existing NIH structure. The list includes:

In addition to this RFI, NIH plans to conduct a series of public outreach meetings with stakeholders in order to inform the development of the draft Scientific Strategic Plan prior to its release for public comment in the fall of 2012. The schedule for these public meetings will be posted and updated on http://feedback.nih.gov/index.php/category/suaa/.

Information Requested
To ensure a thorough and comprehensive exploration of the scientific opportunities that could potentially be included in the Scientific Strategic Plan for substance use, abuse, and addiction research at NIH, responses are being sought from addiction research experts and stakeholders, including treatment and prevention specialists, investigators, patient advocates, and policy specialists, as well as from the general public. 

Responders should note that the NIH is not seeking input on the SMRB recommendation to establish a new Institute focusing on addiction-related research and public health initiatives. Rather, the agency is seeking input on the scientific opportunities and public health needs that should be included in the Scientific Strategic Plan. Input is sought on the areas described above, as well as any other areas that NIH might consider.

  1. For any of the areas identified above and any other specific areas you believe are worthy of consideration by NIH, please identify the critical issues(s) and effect(s) on the public, on scientists, or both.
  2. Please identify and explain which of the issues you identified are, in your opinion, the most important for NIH to address and why.

Response to this RFI is voluntary.  Responders are free to address any or all of the above items.  Please note that the Government will not pay for response preparation or for the use of any information contained in the response.  All responses will be available, including name of the responder. In addition, NIH will prepare and make available a summary of all input received which is responsive to this RFI.

How to Submit a Response
All comments must be submitted electronically to: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfi_files/nih_nisuad/add.cfm

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through May 11, 2012. You will see an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response, but will not receive individualized feedback on any suggestions.  No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

Inquiries

Specific questions about this RFI should be directed to the following e-mail address: NISUADinfo@mail.nih.gov


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