The mission of the Fertility and Infertility Branch (FIB) of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is to encourage, enable and support scientific research aimed at expanding our knowledge of the processes underlying the success or failure of human reproduction with the ultimate goal of improving human reproductive health and quality of life. To help achieve its mission, the FIB supports a National network of centers through a program called the Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research (SCCPIR).
Created in 1998, the SCCPIR is a research-based centers program designed to promote multidisciplinary interactions between basic and clinical scientists so that breakthroughs in our fundamental understanding of key reproductive processes are translated into clinical practice, and that questions arising in the clinic may be expeditiously addressed in the laboratory. To ensure efficient transfer of knowledge between the clinic and laboratory, the SCCPIR is administered through a series of cooperative agreements with each awardee institution. Cooperative agreements are assistance mechanisms that allow the awardee institution to enter into a partnership with the government, thereby maximizing the ability of the FIB to promote, facilitate and assist the research conducted by the awardee institution.
Overall research coordination of the SCCPIR is performed by a Steering Committee consisting of the Principal Investigators from each of the participating centers. Dr. Stuart B. Moss is the FIB Project Scientist of the SCCPIR, and is a member of the Steering Committee. As a means of maximizing inter-center collaborations and translational efficiency, Research Focus Groups (RFGs) have been established in three high emphasis reproductive science areas: 1) Endometrial Function and Dysfunction, 2) Germ Cells, Gonads, Health and Disease, and 3) Neuroendocrine/Pituitary Function. In addition, the NICHD through the SCCPIR, provides multiyear funding to support several research resources that are accessible to all NIH-supported investigators. These resources include the human ovary, endometrium, and placental tissue banks, and a ligand analysis and assay core. In addition, a number of online supported databases are available to all investigators world-wide. These databases include the Ovarian Kaleidoscope Database and the Endometrial Database Resource. Beginning in 2011, all centers are required to have an Outreach/Education core; funds are provided to support activities related to community outreach and education. At present, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Stanford, the University of California (San Francisco), the Oregon National Primate Research Center, and Northwestern are supporting these activities.