Common Fund Program Lifecycle


Strategic Planning: Phases 1 and 2

Common Fund Strategic Planning Reports

The Public Health Service Act requires the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit a strategic plan to congress every two years for funding research through the Common Fund

2011 Strategic Planning Report
2009 Strategic Planning Report


The Common Fund is intended to be a flexible resource for NIH to make strategic investments in programs that will have high impact NIH-wide. Strategic planning is undertaken regularly to identify research areas that address key roadblocks in biomedical research or that represent emerging scientific opportunities ripe for Common Fund investment.


Strategic planning involves the identification of trans-NIH challenges and opportunities that address the Common Fund criteria. Broad topics identified in Phase 1 are refined into a series of well-defined programs and initiatives in Phase 2. The Council of Councils for the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) acts as an external advisory panel to the DPCPSI and NIH Directors for consideration of Phase 1 concepts.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 Chart

NEW! FY 2014 Strategic Planning updates!

As part of Phase 1 planning for potential new Common Fund programs in fiscal year 2014, the NIH conducted several strategic planning activities in the spring of 2012. In order to hear from people with differing viewpoints, including persons in academic research, private sector research, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and the interested public, the NIH conducted two public meetings in Chicago and San Francisco. Additionally, an invited meeting was also held in Potomac, MD, consisting of participants selected on the basis of their recognition as leaders and innovators in a range of biomedical research areas. Participants in all three meetings articulated pressing challenges facing health research or emerging opportunities where strategic investments might have a transformative impact. They then voted on the highest impact ideas and refined the top ideas to form a “rough draft” implementation plan.

Ideas emerging from these three meetings, along with ideas submitted by NIH Institutes and Centers, were referred to the Council of Councils for concept clearance. Cleared concepts were reviewed by senior NIH leadership to select several ideas to move on to Phase 2 strategic planning. Two concepts are being developed into programs for implementation in FY 2013, pending availability of funds. These programs are:

Two concepts, Illuminating the Druggable Genome and Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K), are currently undergoing Phase 2 strategic planning for potential implementation in FY 2014, pending availability of funds. To read more about these planning activities, please visit the Planning Activities page.

Two topics emerging from the FY 2014 Strategic Planning activities are being considered as extensions of ongoing Common Fund programs: Epigenomic Pharmacology, within the Epigenomics program; and Management of Chronic Diseases in Clinical Trials, within the Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory program.

YEAR PHASE 1 Activities and Summary Reports PHASE 2 Concepts
2012 Meetings: Forward Focus: Meeting Report Concepts:
2011 Meetings/Social Media: Innovation Brainstorm Meeting Report Concepts:
2010 Big Think Meeting Summary Report


Phase 3


As each Common Fund program is unique, the implementation of each program varies. To read more about the currently supported Common Fund programs, see “Common Fund Programs.”

Phase 4


Common Fund programs are designed to achieve a set of high-impact goals within a 5-10 year time frame. At the conclusion of each program, deliverables will either stimulate IC-funded research or will transition to support by ICs or other entities that find these resources useful.

Two Common Fund programs have undergone this transition:


Common Fund programs are evaluated throughout the lifecycle as the need arises.

Up to Top

  • Download Readers:
  • Download Adobe PDF Reader
  • Download Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer
  • Download Microsoft Word Viewer
  • Download Microsoft Excel Viewer
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives  •  National Institutes of Health  •  Bethesda, Maryland 20892