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NCCIH's Top Scientific Priorities and How We Set Them

NCCIH is committed to funding research that will have an impact on health and health care.

NCCIH’s Top Scientific Priorities

NCCIH’s strategic plan identifies the Center’s current top scientific priorities for future research. This section of the plan is intended to be “living,” as it will be updated regularly. It identifies both the Center’s objectives as well as areas of low programmatic priority in each research area.

The Center’s current top scientific priorities are as follows:

How We Set Our Priorities

When considering funding a potential research project, the Center assesses its promise using this priority-setting framework:

1. Scientific promise

  • Does a reasonable body of evidence support the potential of the proposed research to lead to improved (1) options or strategies to treat troubling or prevalent health conditions or symptoms or (2) approaches to promote better health and well-being?
  • Is evidence sufficient to support the scope and directions of the proposed research? If not, what research is needed to establish such evidence?

2. Amenability to rigorous scientific inquiry

  • Are the key research goals achievable, and are the key research questions amenable to rigorous scientific investigation, given needed and available methods for measurement, translational tools, and technologies?
  • Are potential approaches feasible and scientifically plausible? Do they lend themselves to rigorous quality control? If not, does the proposed research focus appropriately on developing needed methods, tools, and technologies?

3. Potential to change health practices

  • Is it reasonably likely that the results of the research or program could lead to changes in the health practices of consumers or health care providers or in the decisions of health policymakers?

4. Relationship to use and practice

  • Does the proposed project address an important public health concern or a scientific information need regarding efficacy, safety, or public use of complementary health approaches?