As the NICHD moves forward in its Vision process, it will post FAQs on this page as needed to answer common questions and clarify issues related to the NICHD Vision.

Q: Will the workshop proceedings be open to researchers outside of the NICHD?

Q: Will early stage investigators be included in the workshops, too?

Q: Will the results of the scientific Vision process be used to modify the NICHD's mission?

Q: Will the scientific Vision process itself establish research priorities or a strategic plan for the NICHD, or recommend restructuring of Institute research programs?

Q: The workshop themes are very broad. Can the workshops be focused enough to go beyond broad generalities and identify concrete opportunities?

Q: The workshop themes may be open to multiple interpretations, depending on the disciplines and goals of the organizing groups and range of participants from different disciplines and backgrounds. Won't this be a problem?

Q: The themes and examples don't include specific disorders and conditions, types of interventions, or public health problems or goals. Nor are specific basic, clinical, translational, community-based, or other research programs mentioned. Why?

Q: Will the workshop proceedings be open to researchers outside of the NICHD?

A: Yes. A central aim of the Vision process is to seek input from external audiences, so the groups of participants at each workshop will be comprised almost entirely of outside experts.

Because of various constraints, though, the number of participants we can involve in each workshop is limited. We have enlisted multidisciplinary teams of external researchers, supported by NICHD staff, to plan the workshops and draft invitee lists that include individuals from a variety of backgrounds and academic fields, who can think broadly beyond specific research interests to address the interrelated issues encompassed by each workshop theme. (You can view a complete list of workshop organizers. (PDF - 100 KB))

We are currently exploring additional ways to share the workshop proceedings with the research community and the broader public. Among the ways we plan to do this are to post the workshop agendas and the resulting white papers on this Web site. Throughout the process, we welcome comments and questions and will forward these to the appropriate workshop organizers and/or NICHD staff for consideration.

Q: Will early stage investigators be included in the workshops, too?

A: Yes. We plan to invite a diverse group of participants to each workshop, and that includes early stage investigators in addition to established leaders in their fields.

Q: Will the results of the scientific Vision process be used to modify the NICHD's mission?

A: No, the scientific Vision process will help us accomplish the NICHD mission, not alter it.

Q: Will the scientific Vision process itself establish research priorities or a strategic plan for the NICHD, or recommend restructuring of Institute research programs?

A: No. The process we are undertaking is focused entirely on articulating a shared scientific Vision for the NICHD and its research communities. Once we finalize the Vision, the Institute can take steps to develop programs and activities that will allow us to achieve it over the next decade.

Q: The workshop themes are very broad. Can the workshops be focused enough to go beyond broad generalities and identify concrete opportunities?

A: We think so. We believe that, through focused and directed discussions centered on the key questions, participants will be able to articulate the emerging scientific opportunities that should drive research at the core of the Institute's mission. The NICHD Vision will synthesize the specific research themes and scientific insights derived from the workshops and white papers and lay the foundation for later initiatives and activities.

Q: The workshop themes may be open to multiple interpretations, depending on the disciplines and goals of the organizing groups and range of participants from different disciplines and backgrounds. Won't this be a problem?

A: We hope not. In fact, we expect that bringing very different perspectives and disciplines together will stimulate a wide range of productive thinking. Encouraging participants to explore the differences between their disciplines as well as their complementary approaches to an array of issues will allow the workshops to chart new scientific territory.

Q: The themes and examples don't include specific disorders and conditions, types of interventions, or public health problems or goals. Nor are specific basic, clinical, translational, community-based, or other research programs mentioned. Why?

A: The mission of the NICHD goes beyond addressing any single disease or even just a few related diseases. Accordingly, the descriptions of the theme areas and the key questions are designed to help the organizing groups address basic scientific issues and the translation of basic scientific knowledge into clinical and public health interventions effective in various settings. Thus, organizing groups are asked to consider basic, translational, clinical, and community-based research as appropriate to the topic.

In addition, we avoided mentioning specific examples because we want workshop participants to think beyond the boundaries of any one discipline, health interest, or research program to examine commonalities or relationships that could, in turn, suggest novel and important research opportunities. Such opportunities could benefit one or more conditions, address shared methodological concerns, or otherwise move NICHD science forward in new ways beyond the limits of any existing activity.

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Last Updated Date: 03/14/2011
Last Reviewed Date: 03/14/2011