Success in our mission requires that NIEHS continue to provide strong stewardship of our resources – whether human, financial, or infrastructure – as well as support approaches that will enhance Advancing Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) and research translation. NIEHS, as an institute of NIH, confirms its commitment to the highest standards of scientific rigor, including promotion of new approaches to improve experimental and observational design, analysis, and reporting, as well as active engagement in, and support of, NIH efforts to promote transparency and reproducibility of research results. Efforts to ensure responsible conduct of EHS research include protection of human subjects and communities under study, responsible use of animals, measures to ensure research integrity, appropriate and timely reporting of research results, data privacy and security safeguards, and related issues.
Goals for Enhancing EHS Through Stewardship and Support
- Professional Pipeline: NIEHS will continue recruiting and training the next generation EHS workforce and its leaders in research, science management, and research translation. These efforts will tap a wide range of disciplines and emphasize recruitment of trainees and mid-career researchers from related fields, to build a workforce that is both highly qualified in the use of cutting-edge knowledge, technologies, and approaches, and dedicated to applying them to solve environmental health problems.
- Greater Workforce Diversity: Diversity of thought, perspectives, and approaches is critical to maximizing the public health impact of EHS research and translation efforts. This diversity is achieved, in part, by a commitment to developing an EHS workforce that comprises a wide range of characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and disability. NIEHS is committed to promoting a diverse EHS workforce by ensuring widespread opportunity and inclusion in our recruitment and training programs.
- Promotion of Collaborative Science: The multifaceted and complex nature of modern EHS problems provides a compelling rationale for collaborative science approaches that work across disciplines and global boundaries. Efforts to support effective collaborative science will include increased investment in data sharing infrastructure and data science approaches, emphasis on creating opportunities and efficiencies through biological repositories and shared infrastructure, exploration of innovative approaches for promoting team science, and solutions to address barriers that may act as deterrents.
- Training and Capacity Building in Global Health: In today’s world, people, products, pollutants, and pathogens constantly traverse global boundaries. Building EHS capacity around the world promotes improvement in global environmental health, while helping to ensure safety and health here at home. NIEHS will continue to provide U.S. training opportunities for students and researchers from other countries, collaborate with foreign research and health institutions to share expertise and maximize resources, and partner with international organizations to ensure access to the best EHS information by, and for, all nations.
- Scientific Research and Data Infrastructure: Cutting-edge, collaborative EHS research demands state-of-the-art facilities and resources. NIEHS will continue to provide funding for development of, and access to, shared support and analysis cores, as well as work to implement mechanisms that encourage efficient, sustainable use of resources, and protect research investments through infrastructure resilience. Of high priority will be investment in specialized infrastructure, resources, and training, to successfully implement our Data Science and Big Data goal.
- Impact Evaluation: To demonstrate stewardship and inform EHS efforts, NIEHS will expand evaluation of the impacts of our research, training, and translation activities, as well as encourage the conduct and use of evaluation science in EHS. Indicators of interest include economic, social, and health impacts of policies, practices, and behaviors aimed at promoting health by preventing environmental exposures. The knowledge generated by these evaluations will provide a useful resource to inform decisions of individuals and policymakers.