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Feedback: In these times of increasing telework and AWS, are there any plans to move staff from off-campus locations (at least for the small ICs)? It would be great if the NIH would find ways to accommodate the extramural staff on campus so that, for instance, staff at Democracy I and II could benefit from the shared resources, instead on the focus on just more parking.
Response from the Office of Research Facilities
Thank you for your question regarding long-term plans to house extramural staff on the Bethesda campus. The short answer to your question is no. The reasons follow: 1) There is a limited amount of land on the Bethesda campus; 2) There is limited funding in the Buildings & Facilities appropriation with which to fund a new facility; 3) There is a limited amount of parking on campus; 4) There are several leased laboratories that would benefit from being sited on the Bethesda campus; and 5) An independent study conducted by a specialized consultant concluded that, whereas leasing laboratories has proven to be very costly, leasing offices is more affordable.
Given these factors, the long-term strategy approved by the NIH facilities working group (the governance body that oversees the Office of Research Facilities) is to bring locally leased labs back to the Bethesda campus and to continue leasing office space for extramural staff.
NIH recognizes that the geographical separation between the Bethesda campus and the leased offices can create inefficiencies and reduces the opportunities to share resources; however, priority has been given to housing leased laboratories on the Bethesda campus for the reasons cited above.
As an example, thanks to funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NIH was able to construct phase 2 of the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, enabling NIH to relocate occupants from 5 Research Court to campus. Similarly, since FDA vacated Bldg. 29B on campus to go to White Oak, NIH is renovating 29B to house, among others, NIAID staff presently located in leased labs in Twinbrook. The synergies, opportunities for collaboration and opportunities to share specialty equipment have proven to be very beneficial to the intramural scientists.
Thanks again for your question. It would be wonderful to house all Bethesda-area staff on the Bethesda campus, but is not feasible at this time.