A new strategic plan has been launched to help guide the Federal investment in diabetes research. In August 2008, the Federal Diabetes Mellitus Interagency Coordinating Committee (DMICC) determined that the time was right to identify high-priority opportunities for diabetes research that can be accomplished in the next 5 to 10 years. As chair of the DMICC, the NIDDK spearheaded a collaborative effort across Federal agencies and with input from the external research and patient advocacy communities to develop a new Diabetes Research Strategic Plan. This plan, "Advances and Emerging Opportunities in Diabetes Research: A Strategic Planning Report of the DMICC," will guide the NIH, other Federal agencies, and the investigative and lay communities in their pursuit of the goal of conquering diabetes.
The Diabetes Research Strategic Plan addresses important opportunities in 10 major diabetes research areas; it also addresses the issues surrounding the technological and human resources needed to accelerate discovery in diabetes. Chapters focused on each area of important opportunity include these key sections:
- Introduction: A brief description of the current state-of-the-science, and an overview of the importance of the chapter subject in propelling research progress in diabetes research.
- Recent Research Advances: Examples of major breakthroughs in diabetes research and related efforts that have made a significant impact on the research field or people’s health, particularly in the last 5 to 7 years.
- Key Questions and Future Directions for Research: Specific research questions and directions are described that can be pursued to advance research in the area described by the chapter. The future directions were identified by working group members as being critically important for overcoming current barriers and achieving progress in diabetes research relevant to the chapter’s area of focus over the next 10 years. This section also describes some immediate steps that can be taken to implement these research directions.
- Importance of Research Goals and Strategies: This closing section envisions how the research proposed in the chapter may transform the health of people with or at risk of diabetes.
Collaborative Planning Process
The Diabetes Research Strategic Plan was developed with broad input from a diverse and talented group of over 150 researchers and lay experts dedicated to advancing diabetes research. To formulate the strategic plan, working groups were convened to address each of 10 scientific areas of important opportunity in diabetes research. An additional working group composed of representatives from each of the other 10 groups addressed overarching needs for scientific expertise, tools, technologies, and shared resources. Each working group was chaired by a researcher external to the NIH, and was comprised of external scientific experts—including basic scientists, clinicians, and engineers—as well as representatives of DMICC member organizations and diabetes voluntary organizations. In addition to the focused working groups, the plan was informed by insights provided by an overarching Diabetes Research Strategic Plan Leadership Group comprised of the chairs of the 11 working groups and representatives from the Federal government and from diabetes voluntary organizations. Moreover, to help ensure that the Diabetes Research Strategic Plan reflects the research priorities of the entire diabetes research community, public comments were invited on a draft version of the Strategic Plan for a period of one month, from February 24 to March 31, 2010. Input received during that time informed revisions to the Strategic Plan prior to its final release in February 2011.