Research Planning and Evaluation at the National Institutes of Health and Aspects of Advisory Council Operations

HRD-81-18: Published: Dec 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 1981.

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GAO reported on the research planning, funding, and evaluation process of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the roles of its advisory councils in this process, and the selection of advisory council members.

GAO found that while, the institutes establish their own planning processes, the methods used, the criteria considered, and the groups involved are basically similar. Priority research program areas are generally being funded as planned. The institutes are using several groups, including NIH staff and contractors, to perform evaluations of their research activities. The advisory councils are actively involved in planning, funding, and evaluating research activities. GAO found that other council members believe lay members make significant contributions in many areas of council activities. Although the councils had experienced delays in replacing many of their members when their terms had expired, changes have recently been made in the appointment process which appear to have corrected this problem.

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