Today NIH Director Francis Collins announced an important decision on how to optimize substance use, abuse, and addiction research at NIH through organizational change. Two years ago, NIH’s Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) and its substance use, abuse, and addiction (SUAA) working group issued recommendations on organizational changes to improve SUAA research and the health of people affected by SUAA-related problems. As many of you know, they recommended that NIH establish a new institute focused on these research areas, and also strongly considered an alternative option of functionally integrating existing research resources, rather than creating a new institute.
You may remember that we published a request for information on the proposed reorganization. After subsequent review and input from all of NIH’s constituents – patients and researchers alike – NIH will move ahead with functional integration of these research areas. The NIH institutes that fund these research areas – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) – will keep their institutional identities rather than organizationally merging into one institute. These institutes, and all the NIH institutes and centers that support related research, will continue to their ongoing efforts to work more closely with each other. We’re confident that we can achieve the SMRB recommendations with a functional merger, thus the important science of these two institutes will continue to flourish.
Update from the Rock Talk Blog Team (November 19, 2012, at 11:20 am): For more information, check out the NIH Feedback post on this announcement, which links to a draft strategic plan, details on the functional integration, and more.