NIGMS Strategic Plan Reinforces Commitment to Investigator-Initiated Research


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today issued Investing in Discovery, a strategic plan that will guide the Institute’s decision-making over the next 5 years.

“NIGMS has a strong record of fostering discovery in a broad range of biomedical areas, and we are dedicated to promoting a research environment that will continue to yield important breakthroughs,” said NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D.

NIGMS supports research that increases understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

NIGMS-funded researchers seek to answer important questions in fields such as cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, chemistry, bioinformatics, computational biology, and selected clinical and behavioral science areas. NIGMS also provides leadership in training the next generation of scientists to assure the vitality and continued productivity of the research enterprise.

“This plan articulates our core principles and shows how we will make strategic investments to maximize the benefits of the public funds entrusted to us,” Berg said.

Key features of Investing in Discovery include:

Maintaining a balanced research portfolio
Central to the plan is a commitment to investigator-initiated research, mostly research project grants known as R01s, as the main focus of the NIGMS portfolio. Coordinated research programs will also provide an important avenue for addressing specific biomedical problems and creating resources for the scientific community. NIGMS will make special efforts to encourage and support exceptionally innovative proposals that have the potential for significant impact, even if they carry more than the usual element of risk.

Fostering a robust, stable, and diverse scientific workforce
One of the Institute’s top priorities is nurturing a strong research workforce that accurately reflects the U.S. population. NIGMS is dedicated to supporting high-quality research training, facilitating career stability, and increasing workforce diversity. The Institute will also sustain its efforts to fund new investigators and to provide bridge funding for highly meritorious investigators faced with potential funding gaps.

Communicating with scientists and the public
The Institute will continue to foster an open dialogue with the scientific community, convey its goals and research results to the public, and advance awareness and understanding of biomedical research.

NIGMS developed the strategic plan during a year-long process that featured comprehensive consultation with the scientific community and other stakeholders. This process enabled NIGMS to examine its values and progress and receive input from hundreds of individuals and organizations.

The plan is available at To request a printed copy, send e-mail to or call 301-496-7301.


To interview Dr. Jeremy M. Berg about the NIGMS Strategic Plan 2008-2012, contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301. 

For more information on NIGMS, see
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-- The Nation's Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit