Strategic Vision FAQs

What is NHLBI's Strategic Vision?

The NHLBI’s Strategic Vision is a set of research priorities identifying areas where the NHLBI’s leadership is critical to closing large gaps in knowledge and breaking down significant barriers to HLBS research progress. Developed through a stakeholder-driven process, the Strategic Vision will help in priority setting, decision making, and the allocation of resources for implementing bold new approaches that would be difficult for any individual researcher or organization to undertake alone. The Strategic Vision comprises over 100 Compelling Questions and Critical Challenges aligned to eight scientific objectives. The objectives reflect one or more of the four mission-oriented NHLBI Strategic Goals.

How was the Strategic Vision developed?

The NHLBI’s Strategic Vision was developed through a dynamic and iterative process that engaged NHLBI staff and numerous partners (including patients and study participants, patient advocates, scientists, medical professionals and professional societies, advisory groups, policy makers, and interested members of the public) to identify research priorities and foster a shared understanding of the directions needed for future advances.

The Strategic Visioning partners submitted, voted, and commented on various Strategic Research Priorities — also known as Compelling Questions and Critical Challenges, which were defined as follows:

  • Compelling Questions are unanswered questions or poorly understood areas of research requiring NHLBI facilitation because their complexity exceeds the capacity of any one investigator-initiated program.
  • Critical Challenges are barriers or impediments to scientific progress, and overcoming these obstacles will result in significant impact.

During a community update period, the public was invited to provide input on the ideas submitted. Using this input as well as guidance from several NHLBI advisory groups, the NHLBI identified a set of priorities that have the potential to advance science and reduce the burden of HLBS diseases over the next decade. Each of the research priorities selected reflects one or more of the NHLBI’s mission-oriented goals of understanding human biology, reducing human disease, advancing translational research, and developing the scientific workforce.

The Institute made a draft of the priorities available for public comment in early 2016.

What activities or programs will the Strategic Vision affect?

The Strategic Vision will guide future Institute-solicited research, ultimately leading to new funding opportunity announcements, scientific workshops, and other activities. The goal is to capitalize on the most promising research avenues, prepare the workforce of the future, and identify areas where new technologies can substantially aid the scientific process.

Does Strategic Visioning affect individual-initiated studies?

While Strategic Visioning might stimulate and inspire individual scientists, it is not intended to replace or restrict investigator-initiated ideas. Study proposals submitted by individual researchers will remain the principal way by which the NHLBI supports science.

I do not see a particular disease mentioned within the research priorities, but I am sure it falls under the NHLBI's purview. Did Strategic Visioning exclude this disease?

The Strategic Visioning research priorities were developed for broad impact. Even if a particular disease or health concern is not cited by name, scientific initiatives that emerge will be both crosscutting and targeted to ensure that the Institute addresses pressing health concerns and conditions across its portfolio.

What are the Institute's ultimate goals regarding Strategic Visioning?

The Institute’s ultimate goals for Strategic Visioning are aligned with its mission of stimulating basic discoveries about the causes of HLBS diseases; enabling the translation of basic discoveries into clinical practice for disease prevention and treatment; training and mentoring emerging scientists and physicians; and communicating research advances to the public. The Institute seeks to help individuals affected by HLBS diseases live longer and more fulfilling lives.

How can I stay engaged in the Strategic Visioning process?

The Strategic Visioning process is a meant to be a “living” endeavor, meaning we will continue to engage our stakeholders through workshops, think tanks, and other consultative activities as the Institute implements the strategic research priorities. The ongoing engagement of stakeholders will be critical in helping the Institute quickly adapt to changes in public health priorities and the research landscape. The feedback that the NHLBI receives will be used to continually reassess resource allocations to ensure they are targeted toward the greatest needs.

Still can't find what you're looking for?

Questions about Strategic Visioning or ideas for new Compelling Questions or Critical Challenges may be emailed to NHLBI_Vision@mail.nih.gov or mailed to the address below.

Postal Mail

Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communications (OSPEEC)
Attn: Strategic Visioning Team, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH
31 Center Dr., Building 31, Room 4A10
Bethesda, MD 20892-2480
United States