Finally, Mary Groesch (National Institutes of Health) described the approach that NIH is developing to respond to GPRA requirements. NIH is considering two broad program outcomes for its research programs: to increase understanding of normal and abnormal biological functions and behavior, and to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and disabilities. A combination of qualitative and quantitative goals and indicators will be the most meaningful for gauging performance. For example, narrative descriptions of research accomplishments will be used to place specific incremental advancements into a larger context. They will describe what was previously known and unknown, the nature of the accomplishment, its contribution to understanding and improving human health, its significance for advancing science, next steps, and, when possible, the economic impact of the advance. Quantitative goals and indicators will be employed wherever feasible and appropriate, for example, in assessing progress in sequencing the human genome. Program management is also an important component of NIH's research programs. Activities that could be assessed include grants administration and peer review, communication of results, technology transfer, and management and administration.

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