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Your Environment. Your Health.

2018-2023 Strategic Plan

NIEHS has developed a new draft Strategic Plan to guide the next phase of our efforts. We invite all interested persons to review and provide comment on the draft to help inform the final plan. See below for background on the draft plan, a PDF of the full draft plan, FAQs on the public comment survey, and a link to the survey to provide your comments.

New! NIEHS Strategic Plan 2018-2023: Advancing Environmental Health Science, Improving Health 2.0

New Strategic Plan

NIEHS Mission
The mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives.

NIEHS Vision
The vision of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is to provide global leadership for innovative research that improves public health by preventing disease and disability.

Director's Message

During the past five years, our work at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has been guided by our 2012–2017 Strategic Plan, “Advancing Science, Improving Health: A Plan for Environmental Health Research.” In constructing this plan, we engaged in a process that was broadly inclusive in order to gain the input and expertise of the environmental health science (EHS) community and NIEHS’s many other stakeholders. The result was a plan that has led not only NIEHS, but the entire field of EHS, to new achievements in knowledge, technologies, approaches, and interventions to address environmental health challenges. But as some challenges continue—and new ones arise—so must our work.

As we began to map our strategies for the next five years, we again turned to our stakeholder communities and asked for their input through a Trends & Insights Survey, conducted online in the summer of 2017. The responses to this survey were both wide-ranging and specific. A particular theme that was broadly expressed was the continuing need for many of the priorities articulated in the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan and its 11 goals. For example, study of the exposome, which was still in its infancy in 2012, is now a thriving area of research that is helping to elucidate the impact of exposures from the individual to the population level; our understanding of the role of epigenetic processes as mediators of environmental effect has advanced greatly, as has predictive toxicology; and the evolution and integration of data science remains crucial to the study of environmental health. So, in considering where we want to lead NIEHS and the field of EHS over the next five years, we took these goals as our starting point. Our challenge was this: to set our research priorities within a rapidly evolving scientific landscape while ensuring that our science continues to be responsive to meeting the environmental health needs of people in the United States and around the world.

This new Strategic Plan, therefore, might be considered a “2.0 Version” of the previous plan; one that incorporates many of its priorities and commitments with the goal of building on progress made, but one that also allows for innovation and growth in our ability to explore new and ever-more complex problems. Like its predecessor, this plan supports the NIEHS Mission to discover how the environment affects people, in order to promote healthier lives, as well as our continuing Vision to provide global leadership for innovative research that improves public health by preventing disease and disability. It should also be noted that this Strategic Plan continues to align with the broader goals of the NIH Strategic Plan, and provides support to key trans-NIH priorities and initiatives such as the Cancer Moonshot, the All of Us precision medicine initiative, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, and others.

NIEHS strives to conduct and support the very best science while recognizing that to succeed in our mission, we must align this science with real-world public health needs and enable the translation of its findings into real-life individual and public health outcomes. And we know that to do this requires a solid foundation of supportive strategies and resources. The 2018–2022 NIEHS Strategic Plan comprises three highly interdependent, interactive, and inclusive Strategic Objectives:

  1. Advancing Environmental Health Sciences
  2. Promoting the Translation of Data to Knowledge to Action
  3. Enhancing Scientific Stewardship, Infrastructure, and Support

The graphic below illustrates how these new Strategic Objectives interact to fulfill the NIEHS Mission, and the sections that follow describe the focus of each Strategic Objective in detail, including key efforts contained within them.

Environmental Health Sciences, Data to Knowledge to Action and Scientific Stewardship and Support are NIEHS Mission