Strategic Plan

Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) Strategic Plan The Cover of the Strategic Plan Document

PDF file ORIP Strategic Plan 2016-2020(1.73 MB)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) in December 2011 when the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2012 was passed by Congress and signed into law. ORIP provides research infrastructure and related research programs. ORIP is located in the NIH Office of the Director’s (OD) Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), which identifies and enhances trans-NIH research in critical areas of emerging scientific opportunities and reports on knowledge gaps that merit further research through its scientific offices. The trans-NIH nature of ORIP activities demands close collaborations between ORIP divisions (DCM, DCI), DPCPSI offices, and the entire NIH to optimize support of all disease areas and across the basic, translational, and clinical research continuum.

ORIP’s 2016–2020 Strategic Plan provides the tools needed to forge successful partnerships with NIH ICs, funding agencies, and the scientific community to support the goals of the NIH mission. This 5-year plan presents three thematic areas that were identified during an 18-month planning process. NIH grantees, NIH leadership and colleagues, NIH Council of Councils members, and the general public provided valuable input. The strategic themes define the overall vision, while the outlined strategic goals are ORIP’s focus areas. The objective of ORIP’s Strategic Plan is not only to build on its significant past investment and existing activities, but also to add new ideas and perspectives to emerging research. Many of the outlined areas build on current programs that have benefited from ORIP’s past support. Other areas involve judicious expansion of existing programs and new directions identified as targets for future growth.

The ORIP Strategic Plan research infrastructure high priority thematic areas are:

  1. Developing models of human diseases.
  2. Accelerating research discoveries by providing access to state-of-the-art instrumentation.
  3. Training and diversifying the biomedical workforce.

ORIP Theme I

Developing Models of Human Diseases

Scientists use nonhuman models of human diseases when they are trying to learn about basic disease mechanisms and therapies from experiments that could not be conducted in humans. Evolving technologies and tools for genetic modification will allow currently used animal models to be complemented by new models that will be more focused and predictive of the actual human disease. Even with this new precision, no single animal model will ever recapitulate human disease with complete fidelity. This fact is becoming ever more apparent as we learn about the complexity of human physiology and pathology using the same molecular tools that have allowed us to build better animal models. These new tools and technologies enable scientists to probe deeper into the molecular origins of the clinical symptoms (phenotypes) observable in human diseases. To study, understand, and eventually cure complex diseases in humans will require the use of multiple extensively phenotyped models that mimic the different pathogenic events leading to the disease. Using complementary models may provide the highest predictive capacities, but it will also require new and more in-depth knowledge of disease processes in both models and humans. Additionally, functional alignment of models will require new efforts to integrate data and map phenotypes across model species and into humans. Coupled with a careful choice from among different model systems, this approach should lead to an increased level of predictive power, a decrease in new drug attrition rates, and an increase in the efficacy of new treatments.

Strategy 1 - Expand and ensure access to animal models.

ORIP's disease models program supports the development of new and improved animal models that complement those traditionally used to study human diseases. In addition to the generation of new model systems, it is equally important to ensure that animal models are all readily available for distribution in research studies today, as well as preserved for use by future scientists.

The number and complexity of disease models—naturally occurring, induced, and genetically engineered—are increasing much faster than our ability to effectively access and use the new information to speed life-saving therapies to the clinic. A critical need exists for the creation of innovative knowledge generation and retrieval systems to give translational researchers the ability to analyze the full spectrum of clinically relevant model systems (animal models, cell and organ cultures, tissue and organ chips, and computational methods) and select the most appropriate models for their research. To facilitate the development and ensure the availability of critical animal models, ORIP will:

  • Continually evaluate the utility of and provide sustained support for valued traditional and nontraditional animal models.
  • Evaluate and promote the application of new technologies to improve generation, preservation, and distribution of rodent, nonhuman primate (NHP), aquatic, and other models.
  • Partner with NIH ICs to create information retrieval platforms, knowledge systems, and data repositories to assist scientists in the selection and use of models of human disease.

Highlighting Progress

Protease Inhibition Increases the Efficiency of Potential Gene Therapy for Glaucoma Treatment

Effective Vaccine for Prevention of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)

ORIP Participates in Rapid Zika Virus Model Development

Strategy 2 - Continue to develop and enhance human disease models and research-related resource programs to advance medical research.

Today’s biomedical researchers have a wide variety of model systems from which to choose when studying human biology and disease states. Therapeutic approaches can be tested for effectiveness in animal models prior to their introduction into human clinical trials. The advent of new technologies that permit the construction of a mouse with a human immune system has resulted in opportunities to further develop model systems that are more precise and predictive of human pathologies. To ensure that disease models co-evolve with technologies, knowledge of human biology, and the needs of the research community, ORIP will:

  • Identify opportunities and challenges for animal models to become precise and predictive models of human pathologies.
  • Promote phenotyping and annotation of human disease model systems.

Highlighting Progress

Long-Term Survival of Pig-to-Rhesus Macaque Renal Xenografts Is Dependent On CD4 T Cell Depletion

Computational 3D Histological Phenotyping of Whole Zebrafish by X-Ray Histotomography

A Multicellular Rosette-Mediated Collective Dendrite Extension

mGAP: The Macaque Genotype and Phenotype Resource, A Framework For Accessing and Interpreting Macaque Variant Data, and Identifying New Models Of Human Disease

Tuberculosis (TB) Exacerbates HIV-1 Infection through IL-10/STAT3-Dependent Tunneling Nanotube Formation in Macrophages

Chronic Alcohol Drinking Slows Brain Development in Adolescent and Young Adult Nonhuman Primates (NHPs)

Colonic Inflammation Affects Myenteric Alpha-Synuclein in Nonhuman Primates

Slow Delivery Immunization Enhances HIV Neutralizing Antibody (nAb) and Germinal Center (GC) Responses via Modulation of Immunodominance

Fluorescent Light Incites a Conserved Immune and Inflammatory Genetic Response within Vertebrate Organs (Danio rerio, Oryzias latipes and Mus musculus)

Modeling Diverse Responses to Filled and Outline Shapes in Macaque V4

Autologous Grafting of Cryopreserved Prepubertal Rhesus Testis Produces Sperm and Offspring

Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) Delivery of Anti-HIV Monoclonal Antibodies Can Drive Long-Term Virologic Suppression

Robust CRISPR/Cas9-mediated tissue-specific mutagenesis reveals gene redundancy and perdurance in Drosophila

Large-scale discovery of mouse transgenic integration sites reveals frequent structural variation and insertional mutagenesis

Regulation of T cell expansion by antigen presentation dynamics

Cortical phase-amplitude coupling in a progressive model of parkinsonism in nonhuman primates (NHPs)

Single-cell sequencing of primate preimplantation embryos reveals chromosome elimination via cellular fragmentation and blastomere exclusion

Chronic ethanol drinking increases during the luteal menstrual cycle phase in rhesus monkeys (RM): implication of progesterone and related neurosteroids

Evolutionarily conserved Tbx5-Wnt2/2b pathway orchestrates cardiopulmonary development.

A chromosome-scale assembly of the axolotl genome

Improvement of in vitro and early in utero porcine clone development after somatic donor cells are cultured under hypoxia

A longitudinal assessment of host-microbe-parasite interactions resolves the zebrafish gut microbiome’s link to Pseudocapillaria tomentosa infection and pathology

Vaccine protection against SIVmac239 acquisition

Rescue of rhesus macaques from the lethality of aerosolized ricin toxin

Differentiation of primate primordial germ cell-like cells following transplantation into the adult gonadal niche

Stage-specific modulation of antimüllerian hormone (AMH) promotes primate follicular development and oocyte maturation in the matrix-free three-dimensional culture

Mucosal T helper 17 (Th17) and T regulatory (Treg) cell homeostasis correlates with acute simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) viremia and responsiveness to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in macaques

Identification and functional characterization of a novel Fc gamma (ɣ)-binding glycoprotein in rhesus cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Effects of Maternal Western‐Style Diet (WSD) On Amniotic Fluid Volume (AFV) And Amnion VEGF Profiles in A Nonhuman Primate (NHP) Model

Effects of Immediate or Delayed Estradiol on Behavior in Old Menopausal Macaques on Obesogenic Diet

Antibody and TLR7 Agonist Delay Viral Rebound in SHIV-Infected Monkeys

Early High-Fat Diet (HFD) Exposure Causes Dysregulation of the Orexin and Dopamine Neuronal Populations in Nonhuman Primates (NHPs)

Pre-Existing SIV Infection Increases Susceptibility to Tuberculosis in Mauritian Cynomolgus Macaques (MCM)

Charting the Onset of Parkinson-Like Motor and Non-Motor Symptoms in Nonhuman Primate Model (NHP) Of Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Ovarian Estradiol Supports Sexual Behavior but Not Energy Homeostasis in Female Marmoset Monkeys

Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) Persistence in Cellular and Anatomic Reservoirs in Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)-Suppressed Infant Rhesus Macaques

Early Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Limits SIV Reservoir Establishment to Delay or Prevent Post-Treatment Viral Rebound

Fair-Minded Rats Pay Helpers with Food

Support of Technologies

Humanized Mice Advance Research

A Whole-Animal Platform for Development of New High-Efficiency and Low-Toxicity Drugs

Zika Virus (ZIKV) Infection in Pregnant Rhesus Macaques Causes Placental Dysfunction

Regulation of Tissue Expansion in Drosophila Intestine

Hypothalamic Production of Estradiol is Essential for Induction of the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Surge and Ovulation in Nonhuman Primates (NHPs)

Inhibition of tryptophan Catabolism Augments Immune-mediated Control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)

Targeting the HIV/AIDS Viral Reservoir

Aged Rhesus Macaques as a Model for Alzheimer's Disease

New World Monkey Model Reproduces Key Features of Human Zika Virus (ZIKV) Infection

A Mutant Mouse Centralized Repository for Researchers

A Four Dimensional Atlas of Dynamic Embryo Imaging

Pilot Centers for Precision Modeling

Maternal diet, metabolic state, and inflammatory response exert unique and long-lasting influences on offspring behavior in non-human primates

Anti-HIV IgM protects against mucosal SHIV transmission

Experimental Zika Virus (ZIKV) Infection in the Pregnant Common Marmoset Induces Spontaneous Fetal Loss and Neurodevelopmental Abnormalities

Human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC – CMs) restore function in infarcted hearts of non-human primates

SNARE Complex-associated proteins in the lateral amygdala of Macaca mullatta following long-term ethanol drinking

In vivo imaging of inflammation and oxidative stress in a nonhuman primate (NHP) model of cardiac sympathetic neurodegeneration

Strategy 3 - Explore ways to improve the reproducibility of research using disease models.

Reproducible research is essential for scientific progress. Preclinical investigations are particularly susceptible to reproducibility issues, as many factors are experimentally manipulated to understand the biological system under study. Examples include experimental design factors, such as environmental (diet, temperature) and biological qualities (genetic background, sex), that can affect the reproducibility of animal- and cell-based disease models. To enhance the reproducibility of biomedical research, ORIP will:

  • Develop research resources to train investigators on protocols that influence reproducibility and validation of models of human diseases.
  • Explore the use of online learning and the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs to promote training in reproducibility.
  • Foster relationships between intramural and extramural groups with expertise in improving the rigor of research using animal models.
  • Make strategic investments into infrastructure tools to enhance the reproducibility of specific disease models.

Highlighting Progress

A Mutant Mouse Centralized Repository for Researchers
Strategy 4 - Support the modernization and improvements of animal research facilities to enhance animal maintenance and care.

Biomedical researchers require high-quality, disease-free animals and specialized animal research facilities. ORIP’s Animal Facility Improvement Program (AFIP) provides funds to institutions to modernize animal research facilities through alterations and renovations and to purchase equipment for animal resource centers. To ensure modernization and improvement of animal research facilities, ORIP will:

  • Continue to support the AFIP in collaboration with NIH ICs and other Federal agencies.
  • Provide support for specialized animal facilities, such as a gnotobiotic facility or surgical suite, to meet the emerging research needs of NIH-supported investigators.
  • Solicit applications for SBIR/STTR to bring new animal care technologies to biomedical research.


Accelerating Research Discoveries by Providing Access to State-of-the-Art Instrumentation

The two categories of ORIP’s S10 program, the Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG) and the High-End Instrumentation (HEI) programs, are unique at the NIH, as they support purchases of commercially available instruments to enhance the research of NIH-funded investigators. Without access to appropriate modern tools and equipment, it is impossible to conduct pioneering research, to bring forward basic science discoveries, or to design the translational implementation of these studies. The S10 program provides funding for expensive shared instruments which otherwise would not be available to many researchers. The program funds a broad spectrum of technologies that are used in all areas of biomedical research, from fundamental scientific investigations in biophysics and biochemistry to implementation of novel medical procedures and treatments. Every instrument awarded by the S10 program is used on a shared basis, so that thousands of investigators in hundreds of research institutions nationwide have benefited over the years. ORIP will maintain the vitality of the S10 program and the essential role it plays in supporting the NIH research community and advancing the forefront of biomedical research.

Strategy 1 - Optimize the instrumentation program through forward-looking program management.

Over the years, the demand for different technologies has changed, both as new tools have become available and as the particular focus of scientific efforts has shifted. It is necessary that the instrumentation program remains responsive to these evolving needs of the community. To ensure that ORIP’s S10 program continues its broad reach and important benefits, ORIP will:

  • Implement improved metrics to evaluate the S10 program.
  • Modify the S10 program requirements and administration to augment its costeffectiveness and utility for the biomedical research community.
  • Update program guidelines to serve the needs of all of the S10 program users (both SIG and HEI).

Highlighting Progress

The S10 award is made for one year to purchase a scientific instrument that is a long-term investment. Instruments remain in service for many years. For that reason, the research discoveries and publications highlighted below may occur after the completion date of the S10 award.

Implement Improved metrics to evaluate the S10 Program

Strategy 2 - Continue to accelerate research discoveries by providing access to state-of-the-art instrumentation.

ORIP’s S10 program has served the extramural NIH research community well for more than 25 years. Instruments funded by the S10 program enable work conducted by all NIH ICs at hundreds of research institutions nationwide. The importance of the S10 program for advancing basic science discoveries and their translational implementation is well recognized by the biomedical research community. To continue this record of accelerating research discoveries, ORIP will:

  • Provide support for technologies needed by the biomedical research community.
  • Partner with NIH ICs to leverage resources and extend the reach of the S10 program.

Highlighting Progress

The S10 award is made for one year to purchase a scientific instrument that is a long-term investment. Instruments remain in service for many years. For that reason, the research discoveries and publications highlighted below may occur after the completion date of the S10 award.

Stage-specific modulation of antimüllerian hormone (AMH) promotes primate follicular development and oocyte maturation in the matrix-free three-dimensional culture

Mucosal T helper 17 (Th17) and T regulatory (Treg) cell homeostasis correlates with acute SIV viremia and responsiveness to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in macaques

Identification and functional characterization of a novel Fc gamma-binding glycoprotein in Rhesus Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

High-Performance Compute Cluster for Molecular Science

Cryo-EM Microscope and Dedicated Compute Cluster for Single Particle Cryo-EM

Compute and Data Storage Cluster for Electron Microscopy

High-Performance Compute Cluster and Storage System

Compute Cluster and Data Storage System

IVIS Spectrum CT Imager

Ultrasonic and Photoacoustic Imaging System

9.4T MRI System

Liquid Chromatography System and Mass Spectrometer

Confocal Microscope

600 MHz NMR Spectrometer and Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer

750MHZ Wide Bore NMR Spectrometer

Single Molecule Real Time Sequencer

Inverted Confocal Microscope






Training and Diversifying the Biomedical Workforce

The most important ingredient in biomedical science is the inquisitive mind of the well-trained scientist. Maintaining this “human infrastructure” requires careful investments, in both time and money, to ensure that the next generation of biomedical researchers reaches its full potential. To continue the advancement of human health, the NIH must attract some of the best minds from the full diversity of each generation into medical research. ORIP will support activities designed to complement other NIH programs, to improve scientific training, and to advance a diverse research workforce.

Strategy 1 - Train veterinary scientists as translational researchers.

Veterinary scientists, biomedical scientists with a veterinary degree, can offer a distinct perspective and expertise to translational biomedical research through their comparative understanding of disease models. Veterinary scientists can make unique recommendations regarding the development, refinement, and reproducibility of disease models and optimize laboratory animal maintenance and care. However, because hurdles continue to impede the entry of veterinarians into basic and applied research careers, ORIP will:

  • Identify and address challenges and opportunities for veterinary scientists to acquire the skills needed to participate in biomedical research.
  • Collaborate with NIH ICs to develop programs that capitalize on the specialized expertise of veterinary scientists (e.g., pathology, emerging infectious diseases, and epidemiology).
  • Promote biomedical research collaborations between physicians and veterinary scientists.
  • Train veterinary scientists to lead activities that integrate biomedical findings across model species (e.g., multidisciplinary training programs).
  • Support dual-degree training programs for veterinary scientists.

Learn more about the Mission Statement and Activities.

Last updated: 04-27-2022