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Science Policy At NIH

The Office of Science Policy Analysis (OSPA) is involved in the analysis of a wide range of current issues and the development of policies affecting NIH-funded research. Some of these issues and policies, which continue to evolve as scientific discovery advances, are listed below.

Comparativeness Effectiveness Research

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 PDF Icon assigned $400 million to be used for Comparativeness Effectiveness Research (CER). In order to be assured that the funds would be used efficiently and effectively, the NIH established a CER Coordinating Committee. The Committee’s role includes ensuring the optimal use of the CER stimulus funds, developing funding recommendations for the NIH Director, and defining NIH’s future role in CER. In addition to staffing the Coordinating Committee, the OSPA is a key resource for the analysis and implementation of federal and NIH-specific CER policies. The NIH actively participates in federal CER efforts, and the office plays an integral role in advising and tracking those efforts.

A complete listing of grants funded through the NIH Comparative Effectiveness Research ARRA set-aside can be found here PDF Icon.

For more information about CER, visit the NIH and the ARRA,, and Recovery.Gov.

Stem Cell Research

The OSPA is a key resource for the analysis and development of NIH policies regarding stem cell research. OSPA staff, working with the NIH Stem Cell Task Force, are involved in the interpretation and implementation of administration policies and Executive Orders relating to stem cell and human embryo research. OSPA advises the NIH, Congress, the scientific community, and the public on current stem cell policies and specific research activities allowable under current policies and regulations.

For more information on stem cell research at NIH and the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research, visit


In 2006, in conjunction with the NIH Director, OSPA initiated the Trans-NIH Nanotechnology Task Force (TF) for the purpose of identifying NIH leadership opportunities at the interface between Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine/Nanobiology; and for the purpose of enhancing the understanding of the health and safety implications of engineered nanomaterials.

The Nano TF tracks the NIH investment in basic and applied nanoscale research, organizes national and international meetings and workshops, develops reports and brochures, presents at congressional hearings and collaborates in interagency activities such as the Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology subcommittee of the National Nanotechnology Initiative and in related national and international activities.

Read more about Nanotechnology at NIH:

NanoFrontiers in Biomedicine Report (PDF Icon, 51 pages. Disclaimer: this document download is from a non-DHHS website)

Innovative Medical Research at the Molecular Scale – Brochure for Scientists PDF Icon, 12 pages)

New Understanding, New Capabilities and New Approaches for Improving Health - Brochure for the Public (PDF Icon, 12 pages)

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