NIH Board Votes to Consolidate NIDA and NIAAA Research in a New Institute
The NIH Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) met September 15, 2010, to hear a working group’s recommendations regarding addiction research at NIH. At issue was whether this research which rests in numerous Institutes, especially NIDA and NIAAA, should be merged, and if so, how to do so.
The Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction working group stated that scientific and public health issues led them to unanimously conclude that addictions research should be consolidated at the agency.
The working group presented two options for the full SMRB to consider in merging this research: a functional merger which would bring together additions research into something similar to the Neuroscience Blueprint or OppNet, or a structural merger that would create a new institute to replace NIDA and NIAAA. The working group was clear that funding should not be reduced, only transferred.
The SMRB voted to recommend to the NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, that a new institute be created. Tobacco and gambling research would also be moved from other Institutes to this new entity. Other steps remain in this process. Dr. Collins has the authority to accept or reject the recommendation, and any change in organizational structure that is approved by Dr. Collins would also require the approval of the Secretary of HHS. Additionally, Congressional notification and a public comment period would be required before the structural changes would occur.