WASHINGTON DC – Although the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has enjoyed significant budget increases and bipartisan support in recent years, a group of speakers, including former NIH directors, told a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee on July 30 that the Institutes' current organizational configuration is less than optimally efficient.

The committee was formed at the request of the US Congress to study the possible reorganization of the NIH. At the meeting, the first of four scheduled, several invited speakers warned that the NIH's proliferation of 27 centers and institutes has made NIH activities redundant and difficult to manage. NIH director Elias Zerhouni asked that the panel consider the implications of clustering institute initiatives according to function, and of fostering an effective decision making process via committees and councils. Only two months on the job, Zerhouni said that he hopes his tenure is marked with a more innovative...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?