Getting to the Vision

Why strategic visioning?

In order to enrich the NHLBI legacy, the Institute must be able to anticipate and capitalize on emerging scientific opportunities, as well as foresee and identify approaches to overcome new barriers to progress.  Strategic Visioning was a process that was initiated in recognition of these needs and in acknowledgment of the the scientific advances that are emerging at an accelerating pace.

Map of global participationGlobal Participation

Participants came from 50 states and 42 countries.

Registered users on the Strategic Visioning Forum: 4,450

Votes Cast: 42,000





The Strategic Visioning process was unprecedented and involved a broad circle of partners—scientists, medical professionals, policymakers, patients and patient advocates, professional groups, and other interested members of the public. An online, interactive crowdsourcing platform was used, allowing the NHLBI community to submit, and comment on Compelling Questions and Critical Challenges mapped to the Institute’s four strategic goals. Participants helped to identify the most compelling science. The crowdsourcing results: 1,234 compelling questions and critical challenges aligned to four mission-driven goals.

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 have significant impact.


total cq/ccs submitted chart    

Develop Workforce and Resources


Understand Human Biology


Advance Translational Research


Reduce Human Disease


NHLBI's Strategic Visioning Process collected broad community input that informed the Strategic Vision.

The inputs recieved were refined to 132 Research Priorities and organized into eight objectives that support NHLBI's misison-driven strategic goals.




With extensive input from our National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council, and NHLBI scientific program staff, we reviewed a set of community inputs (i.e., the Compelling Questions and Critical Challenges). What emerged from this review was a set of Research Priorities that resonated based on their timeliness, feasibility, and overall potential to advance the fields of study. All submitted suggestions from the community have been retained and can be revisited as new opportunities or challenges arise.