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estimated downward negotiation rate for research project grants and center grants? How do these rates compare with FY 1989 and 19907 How do they vary Institute by Institute?
Answer. As we have outlined in the forthcoming report, "A Plan for Managing the Costs of Biomedical Research", we are working toward eliminating the imposition of arbitrary reductions. This policy change will take place gradually as we move through the transition year of 1991. Therefore, neither commitments on grants previously awarded nor study section recommended levels for competing grants will be fully met.
Elimination of the arbitrary reductions will be accomplished by undertaking a concerted effort to heighten the sensitivity of Initial Review Group members to cost issues. If NIH financial management objectives cannot be met by accepting IRG recommended budgets, Councils and Boards, working with staff, will develop those cost control practices necessary to manage their research portfolios. We also will improve our capability for cost analysis. In those instances where Councils/Boards may determine that the cost of addressing a particular scientific question exactly as proposed is too great relative to its programmatic relevance, they will have the option to recommend changes to the scope of certain projects or to recommend a lower-cost strategy. The full effect of these practices will be closely evaluated during the coming year. These practices apply to competing research project grants.
For noncompeting research project grants, we now are estimating future years' costs based on the first year's adjusted cost plus a growth factor averaging four percent as opposed to the study section recommended level. Based on this new policy, we intend in the future to pay the commitment level.
OFFICE OF RESEARCH ON WOMEN'S HEALTH
Question. Dr. Raub, last year the NIH responded to several Congressional initiatives on women's health by creating an Office of Research on Women's Health within the Office of the Director. What level of funding does the NIH plan for the Office in FY 927
Answer. The President's budget request for FY 1992 provides $2.5 million for the Office of Research on Women's Health. The funds are included in the overall request for the Office of the Director, NIH, and represent an increase of $1 million over those provided to the Office through the Director's discretionary fund in FY 1991.
Question. Is there a plan for creating a permanent advisory committee to assist the Office with its mission?
Answer. The significant role of this Office is in assisting the NIH in increasing research activities related to women's health. This role requires consultation at the highest levels within the NIH advisory system. Thus, in its early stages, the Office of Research on Women's Health is seeking guidance from the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH. NIH believes that
this reflects the importance placed on the activities of this new office.
The Task Force on Opportunities for Research on Women's Health has been constituted as a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Director. This group has initiated a planning process that will culminate in recommendations for a trans-NIH research agenda for women's health. This process will include both a public meeting in June at which organizations interested in women's health will. present their views and a major scientific conference in September 1991.
The Task Force then will report to the Advisory Committee to the Director and propose a plan for research on women's health for the next decade. Until that plan and its recommendations are completed and accepted by the NIH Director, we expect that guidance to the office will be provided by the Task Force and the Advisory Committee to the Director. Upon completion of the report, NIH will consider whether these efforts might be served better by a separate advisory body.
How will such an advisory committee be
Answer. Based on the research priorities to be established in the Task Force report to the NIH Director, NIH will determine the best structure and membership for an advisory Committee. will, however, be mindful of the views of the many organizations interested in women's health. The Office of Research on Women's Health expects to have an ongoing dialogue with these groups.
Question. Does the NIH plan to use the expertise of women's hospitals as it further develops an agenda for the Office of Research on Women's Health or as it establishes an advisory committee?
Answer. NIH plans to draw on the advice and expertise of leaders in the broad array of scientific areas, medical specialties and other fields related to research on women's health. Our efforts will address diseases, conditions, and disorders as they affect women throughout all the stages of life--birth to the geriatric years. NIH intends to seek advice from leading researchers, clinicians, and women's health advocacy organizations. Some of these experts undoubtedly will have experience in service at women's hospitals as well as in other health care settings.
QUESTIONS SUBMITTTED BY SENATOR MARK O. HATFIELD
Question. How does the quality of science education in the United States affect the ability of NIH to fulfill its mission?
Answer. The mission of the National Institutes of Health is to improve the health of the citizens of this Nation by conducting and supporting research into the factors underlying
disease so that new methods of diagnosis, prevention and treatment can be developed and put into use by health care providers.
To successfully complete this mission, NIH is dependent on a cadre of highly trained biomedical and behavioral researchers. Since its inception, NIH has supported the training of these researchers. In 1976 this support was codified into the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) program which provides both fellowships and traineeships to talented undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral students and young researchers so that they can pursue training is biomedical/behavioral research. The NRSA program is highly successful and U.S. biomedical researchers continue to be world leaders in their fields.
Recent studies, however, indicate that students who are now in elementary, junior high and high school are being turned off to science. These students, particularly minorities and women, are lost from the pool of college and graduate students from which NIH researchers will be developed in the 21st century. If something is not done now to attract these students to the sciences, it is predicted that the number of trained researchers will be inadequate to meet national needs by the year 2000. Without this pool of researchers, NIH will be unable to perform the kind of biomedical research needed to insure the continued health of our Nation.
A more subtle effect that the quality of science education has on NIH is in the area of public science literacy. U.S. public, social, and economic health depends increasingly on the population's understanding and use of science and technology. Our health care system has become dependent on scientifically literate patients who can make informed decisions about their health needs.
In addition, many research enterprises have come under attack from interest groups who assert that biomedical research is unnecessary and actually undermines the moral fabric of this country. Some seem generally well-meaning but poorly informed. Others, such as anímal-rights and environmental extremists seem intent upon deliberate deception. In either case, these groups find a vulnerable audience for their message in a public that is not scientifically informed. A more active campaign to educate the general public is needed to protect it from this kind of manipulation.
Like all Federal agencies, NIH is dependent on the will of the people for its continued survival. Without a scientifically literate public equipped with the tools necessary to make the difficult ethical decisions that are demanded by our society, the mission of NIH could be placed in jeopardy.
What is the goal of the NIH Science Education
Answer. The goal of the NIH science education program is two-pronged: 1) to encourage the natural enthusiasm young people have for science and thus maintain the flow of students into biomedical/life sciences education and career paths --with a
special focus on recruiting women, minorities and the disabled; and 2) to promote public support for and understanding of biomedical science and technology.
Question. Many Federal agencies are focusing attention and resources on improving science education. What unique contributions can NIH make to this effort? Is NIH actively pursuing collaborations with other Federal agencies?
Answer. Adolescents and younger children have a natural interest in their bodies and the world around them. As a result, the life sciences offer an especially suitable vehicle for capturing and encouraging their enthusiasm for science. While many Federal agencies with education and science missions are involved in science education and training, none focus on biomedical and life sciences literacy or education. NIH is uniquely positioned to use its many resources, both in terms of scientific personnel and laboratory facilities, to increase understanding and appreciation for biomedical and behavioral science among school children, college students, and adults.
Unlike many of the other science mission agencies, NIH has on staff a large number of the most highly trained biomedical scientists in the world. These scientists form a valuable resource that can be used to support the efforts currently being made to improve science education in this country. Many of these scientists are already donating their free time to participate in "Adopt-a-school" programs, and many more have expressed a willingness to participate in curriculum development projects as well as intramural student and teacher education programs.
NIH is actively involved in the FCCSET Committee on Education and Human Resources (CEHR), and represents the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on the Department of Education Steering Committee on Science and Mathematics Education. In the Spring of 1990, the CEHR formed a working group to develop an inventory and perform an extensive review of all Federal science education programs. The Associate Director for Science Policy and Legislation has represented DHHS on this working group and has coordinated the presentation of all Department programs.
NIH has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Education to provide partial funding for one of their research centers on science education and is actively pursuing similar collaborative projects with the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and other Federal agencies. In 1990, NIH collaborated with NASA to develop a curriculum supplement, "Human Physiology in Space: A Program for America."
In addition, the Deputy Director of NIH co-chairs the PHS Board on Life Sciences Education and Science Literacy with the Administrator of ADAMHA. The Board, composed of representatives from each of the PHS agencies, was established as a Working Group in 1989 to coordinate PHS efforts in science education and science literacy. In late 1989, they published a Report on Science Education efforts at PHS. This was followed by an Action Plan which made specific recommendations, goals, and
strategies. In the Spring of 1991, the Board will hold a National Conference on Life Sciences Education and Literacy. This conference will bring together individuals from education, industry, professional associations, the media, and other Federal agencies to assist in the development of both short- and long-range plans to guide the development of future PHS science education programs.
Question. Has the NIH formulated a long-range plan for science education? What is the projected budget? What new initiatives do you plan for FY 1992?
How much do you estimate will be spent in FY '92? is included in the budget for FY '91?
Answer. The National Institutes of Health has drafted a framework for a five-year plan for its participation in science education and is awaiting the outcome of the Public Health Service National Conference on Science Education to finalize this plan. The National Conference, "Prologue to Action: Life Sciences Education and Science Literacy", will be held June 1618, 1991 and will bring together experts from across the education community, federal government and private industry to help develop strategies and a long range plan for PHS involvement in science education.
The objectives of this plan are to expand efforts to enhance teacher knowledge of the life sciences and encourage partner ships between the scientific and educational communities to improve science education at pre-school through undergraduate levels. While new to this area, NIH recognizes the impact of such an effort on student knowledge, motivation, career interest, and health promotion. Universities and other organizations will receive grants for model programs to improve science education in the life sciences by promoting linkages among NIH-funded scientists and local school and community programs. Activities will include summer institutes for teachers; development of curriculum supplements, audio-visual materials, classroom activity, laboratory guides, and other educational materials; laboratory experience for students and teachers; and mentoring. A major emphasis will continue to be on programs to improve science education for minorities and
NIH also is exploring ways to work collaboratively with other federal agencies (e.g., co-funding projects of mutual interest), national biology and science teachers organizations, professional societies, and other national groups to enhance teacher knowledge and skills and develop useful classroom materials. Programs and materials will be developed to inform life scientists about how they can contribute to improved precollege science education. These will be developed for intramural and extramural scientists.
Budget: The NIH Biomedical/Life Sciences Education Program, Ich will be administered by the Office of Science Policy and !slation is officially reflected in the NIH budget beginning