Environmental Factor, October 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Gottesman announces new intramural research website
By Robin Arnette
Gottesman said that the idea for an intramural website came from a scientific directors' retreat held in December 2008. (Photo courtesy of NIH)
Screenshot of the IRP homepage (Graphic courtesy of Christopher Wanjek)
During the launch of the I Am Intramural campaign in July 2009 (see story(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2009/august/spotlight-campaign.cfm)), NIEHS handed out coffee mugs to promote the intramural program. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
On September 19, Michael Gottesman, M.D. (http://www.nih.gov/about/almanac/historical/deputy_directors.htm#gottesman) , deputy director of the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the launch of a new website (http://irp-staging.nih.gov/) that unifies all of the outstanding work conducted by NIH in-house researchers. This latest NIH presence on the web seeks to educate the general public about the biomedical and behavioral research that takes place in the intramural program, stimulate novel research collaborations, and highlight the numerous employment and training opportunities available for scientists outside of NIH.
The website is the culmination of the I Am Intramural campaign, a project developed by NIH intramural scientific directors to spread the word about the intramural program. Gottesman was one of the major promoters of the venture and said that the website is the perfect vehicle for his office.
“This is a proud, shining face,” Gottesman said. “The larger scientific community [and others] need to know who we are and what we do.”
It took an 80-member group two years to complete the website. The effort was led by L. Michelle Bennett, Ph.D., from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Andreas Baxevanis, Ph.D., from the National Human Genome Research Institute; and Christopher Wanjek, director of communications for the NIH Office of Intramural Research. Since the website was a trans-NIH endeavor from the beginning, its design reflects that approach. The research section is organized by focus area, rather than by institute, while the research in action portion includes regularly updated articles about labs and researchers from throughout the IRP. The website has links to The NIH Catalyst(http://irp.nih.gov/catalyst/v19i5) , the official newsletter for intramural research, and social media links, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. It also has sections on intramural news releases, careers, and training positions.
The team worked many hours to make the website a reality, and Bennett is pleased with the final product. When asked how she felt to finally unveil the website, she said, “We are extremely excited about the launch of this site that reflects input from scientists, clinicians, communications and training directors, technology transfer and IT specialists, administrators, and support staff.”
Baxevanis was also satisfied with the website and said he's gotten good reviews. “The initial response to the new website by the NIH community has been incredibly positive,” he added. “It's been quite heartening to see the community come together around this effort.”
The NIH IRP is made up of approximately 1,100 tenured or tenure-track scientists and thousands of postdoctoral fellows and staff. Since NIH's humble beginnings in a one-room laboratory in 1887, intramural researchers have been responsible for a number of public health advances, ranging from the use of fluoride to prevent tooth decay to the development of the first AIDS drugs. Knowing the program's history certainly makes the website's homepage title a fitting one - “The NIH Intramural Research Program: Our Research Changes Lives.”