NICHD Advisory Council Weighs in on Scientific Vision


Vision logoAt the recent 145th meeting of the NICHD’s advisory council, NICHD Director Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., presented some of the main concepts that have emerged from the Institute’s year-long scientific Vision process. These draft concepts will form the basis for the NICHD’s formal scientific Vision statement, which will be finalized in late 2011 or early 2012.

The NICHD’s advisory council, called the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development (NACHHD) Council, provides information and advice to NICHD leadership about issues related to the Institute’s activities. The Council includes members from a variety of research, occupational, industry, patient-support, and other groups with missions relevant to the NICHD.

The Institute began the Vision process in 2010 as a way to collaborate with its many stakeholders in identifying the next decade’s most promising scientific opportunities across the breadth of the Institute’s mission. The Institute held multiple meetings and consultations on key scientific themes relevant to its research portfolio and also addressed a number of cross-cutting issues. Nearly 700 individuals from 229 different institutions and organizations and representing a broad range of science and interests attended the meetings.

Based on the important concepts that emerged from these meetings and the hundreds of additional comments received, Institute leadership is drafting a scientific Vision statement, which will set an ambitious agenda and inspire the NICHD, its many partners, and the research community to achieve critical scientific goals and improve health.

Dr. Guttmacher presented the findings and key concepts of the Vision to the NACHHD Council so that members could provide additional feedback to help inform the final Vision statement. The concepts encompassed eight major themes:

  • Reproduction
  • Pregnancy
  • Developmental Biology
  • Early Origins of Health, Disease, Growth, and Development
  • Behavior and Cognition
  • Plasticity and Rehabilitation
  • Population Dynamics
  • The Conduct of Science

Each area included a number of important research opportunities that could advance the science and improve health.

The full set of draft concepts is available in Dr. Guttmacher’s presentation A Scientific Vision for the Next 10 Years: The Science  (PDF - 1.1 MB). A video of the Vision discussion from the Council meeting is available at (select the September 2011 item).

After NICHD leadership finalizes and disseminates the Vision statement, the Institute will identify strategic steps and collaborations needed to achieve the scientific Vision in the coming years.

For more information about the Vision process, goals, and themes, please visit the NICHD Vision Web site.

If you have questions about the Vision process, please e-mail


Originally posted: September 28, 2011

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