Research Strategic Plan

research strategic plan

In 2019, the Department of Medicine invested considerable effort and resources to devising a strategic plan that will provide a roadmap for our research mission today and into the future.

This work was guided by a Research Planning Committee that convened throughout the first half of 2019, reviewing the current state of research in the Department, generating recommendations for strengthening our research efforts, and developing the following plan. Many of our faculty and research administrators participated and contributed ideas as part of this process—through interviews, a survey, and robust discussions at the 2019 Research Retreat.

The result of this combined effort is the clear, direct, ambitious, and ultimately achievable research strategic plan that follows.

We identified five strategies for achieving our vision.

We will foster the success of our current faculty by enhancing our faculty development, mentoring, and funding programs while also strengthening the pipeline of the next generation of outstanding investigators in Medicine.

Lead: Andrew Alspaugh, MD


  • Strengthen faculty career development programs (Xunrong Luo, Matthew Crowley)
  • Build a diverse and inclusive Department of Medicine (Laura Svetkey, Julius Wilder)
  • Foster a culture of outstanding mentorship in the Department (Alspaugh, Cathleen Colon-Emeric)
  • Expand physician-scientist recruitment and programmatic support (Rodger Liddle, Matt Hirschey)
  • Launch a Department partnership hires program (Xunrong Luo, Chris Holley)
  • Expand cadre of independent PhD investigators (Scott Palmer, Amy Porter-Tacoronte)

We will enhance our partnerships with other departments, centers, institutes, schools, and programs across Duke University.

Lead:  David Simel, MD, vice chair for veterans affairs

  • Duke Clinical Research Institute
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Durham VA Medical Center
  • Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
  • Pratt School of Engineering and MEDx
  • Duke Human Vaccine Institute
  • Duke Global Health Institute
  • Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine

We will solidify a leadership position in data science by leveraging the clinical disease expertise of our faculty; building our data assets; and improving our data collection, storage and analytics resources.

Lead: Chetan Patel, MD, vice chair for clinical affairs

  • Cultivate DOM data assets into open science platform
  • Augment biostatistics & bioinformatics resources
  • Create new leadership role for data science
  • Implement learning health units
  • Continue implementation of Science Culture and Accountability Plan

We will foster a community and culture of rich scientific investigation by making research easier while achieving the highest levels of research integrity.

Lead: Erica Malkasian

  • Provide outstanding grants and administrative support to investigators
  • Position Duke as a leader in site-based research
  • Develop next-generation biorepository capabilities
  • Catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Expand international research efforts

We will invest in emerging research content and method areas that leverage our strengths and address important unmet patient-centered medical needs.

Lead: Heather Whitson, MD

Cross-cutting themes:

  • Immunology, inflammation & fibrosis
  • Aging, resilience & pain
  • Energy, obesity & metabolic disease
  • Precision medicine
  • Population health & disparities research

To learn more about our research strategies and initiatives, contact

  • Scott Palmer, MD, MHS, vice chair for research
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Research Strategic Planning

In 2018, the University Science Strategy Committee identified the most promising opportunities for university-wide investment across scientific disciplines. Building on this effort in 2020, Yale School of Medicine has developed a strategic plan for scientific research that aligns with the broader plan and builds on key strengths in the school.

The plan recommends three areas for cross-cutting themes, eight focused areas of research, and ongoing investments in institutional infrastructure essential to meet this vision.

Table of Contents

  • Cross-cutting themes
  • Focused areas of research
  • Institutional infrastructure
  • Download YSM's Research Strategic Planning report as pdf

Cross-Cutting Themes

Data science - 2020 plan.

  • Create a new section/department in biomedical informatics and data science as a home for faculty experts in all areas ranging from clinical informatics to bioinformatics and data science
  • Expand in areas that may include Biomedical/health record data, Image processing, or Next generation “omics”
  • Develop infrastructure for core support in this area

Data Science - Progress

  • The section of Biomedical Informatics and Data Science was created with Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD PhD , as the first chair and also Deputy Dean for Biomedical Informatics
  • This work is ongoing with several recent faculty recruitments into BIDS as well as new hires. Ohno-Machado is leading efforts to build new computing infrastructure and data workflow.

Team Science - 2020 Plan

  • Set up organizational structure to facilitate teams in large initiatives/team science
  • Provide pilot funding program to support nascent teams to develop high impact projects
  • Facilitate exposure of faculty new to the YSM and Yale community via research-in-progress presentations and networking

Team Science - Progress

  • Created the Office of Team Science , led by Kakie Mashburn , to facilitate the organization of large grant submissions by teams.
  • Provided pilot funding to 10 projects for $200k via our program for the promotion of interdisciplinary team science (POINTS) program .
  • Young “rising star” faculty have presented to the YSM leadership group in monthly meetings.

Support for Graduate Students & Postdocs - 2020 Plan

  • Create new opportunities for endowed slots for students and postdocs
  • Create new paths for training PhD students in clinical departments
  • Enhance postdoctoral training
  • Expand and enhance our culture of inclusive excellence

Support for Graduate Students & Postdocs - Progress

  • All new fundraising initiatives include requests for endowed student slots.
  • YSM has also covered >30 unbudgeted PhD students on an annual basis.
  • Megan King, PhD and Dick Kibbey, MD, PhD have been tapped to lead the new PhD Program in Translational Biomedicine (PTB) .
  • Developed a process for faculty in clinical departments to be directly appointed as trainers by the Graduate School.
  • The clinical departments have been proactive in requesting the addition of pre-doctoral slots to long-standing post-doctoral T32 training programs.
  • Erin Heckler, PhD has been recruited to Direct the new Office of Postdoctoral Affairs , supported by Faculty Director Elias Lolis, PhD . In addition to improvements to recruitment and process, the office has rolled out wholesale programs to advance career development, led by Victoria Hallinan, PhD .
  • Through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion we support several initiatives to support our PhD students and postdocs .

Focused Areas of Research

Inflammation - 2020 plan, inflammation - progress.

  • Launched the Center for infection and Immunity , under the direction of Akiko Iwasaki, PhD .
  • Launching the Tananbaum Center for Theoretical and Analytical Human Biology under the direction of Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD .

Single Cell Biology--2020 Plan

  • Build on strengths in nuclear cell biology, epigenetics, and single cell biology
  • Recruit cohort with a concentration of expertise in single cell biology
  • Support groups already working together on program project-type applications
  • Synergize with investments in key technologies and data science
  • Seize opportunities for collaborative team projects that span departments and disciplines

Single Cell Biology - Progress

  • Centrally supported single cell users group meets regularly and started an annual symposium in 2021. View the agenda from the heavily-attended 2022 annual symposium on single cell approaches .
  • Developed core services for key technologies in the single cell space and are currently piloting several leading/bleeding edge new technologies for single cell ‘omics and multi-omics

Metabolism - 2020 Plan

  • Establish the Yale Center for Molecular & Systems Metabolism
  • Integrate with Diabetes Research Center, Liver Center, and Vascular Biology & Therapeutics

Metabolism - Progress

  • Established the Yale Center for Molecular & Systems Metabolism with Anton Bennett, PhD as the inaugural director. Two new recruits join the center in the fall of 2023.
  • Key faculty from across the school, including the Diabetes Research Center , Liver Center , and Vascular Biology & Therapeutics , have joined the center to broaden and deepen collective knowledge and research areas .

Developmental Brain Disorders - 2020 Plan

  • Bring together strength distributed across many departments and centers

Developmental Brain Disorders - Progress

  • One multi-disciplinary team received a POINTS award for a team-based effort to understand how genes underlying neurodevelopmental disorders impact brain circuit development and function.
  • Center for Brain & Mind Health established
  • Multiple collaboration initiatives in progress

Health Equity Research - 2020 Plan

  • Leverage appointment of Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, as inaugural associate dean of health equity research to coordinate efforts across the school and create common tools
  • Enhance positions in YCCI and Yale Cancer Center devoted to health equity research
  • Support the SEICHE Center for Health and Justice (Yale School of Medicine plus Yale Law School)
  • Include as a targeted area for cluster hiring in our FIRST Award application

Health Equity Research - Progress

  • Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS has leadership positions in both the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (the Yale CTSI) and the Yale Cancer Center (NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center) with infrastructure in both to enhance career development and pilot funding in health equity research .
  • New funding has been successfully obtained to develop methodologies to enhance diverse participation in clinical trials through decentralization and other approaches.

Technology and Biomedical Engineering - 2020 Plan

  • Facilitate joint hires in data science, biomedical engineering, and computer science
  • Recruit faculty in cutting edge technologies (mass spec, FIB-SEM, imaging)

Technology and Biomedical Engineering - Progress

  • Made first fully joint appointment between Computer Science and Genetics .
  • Recruited C. Shan Xu, PhD and Song Pang to lead new initiative in FIB-SEM .
  • Held Dean’s Workshop on promising new approaches in mass spectrometry
  • Several recent hires in mass spectrometry

Biomedical & Biological Imaging - 2020 Plan

  • Recruit new PET Center director; continue the transformative initiative that the PET Center has been, and simultaneously enhance its service role
  • Organize and brand an umbrella center to facilitate collaboration and serve as a home for program/center grants and training grants
  • Identify opportunities to better connect biomedical and basic biological imaging (example: FIB-SEM)

Biomedical & Biological Imaging - Progress

  • Recruited Georges El-Fakhri as new head of PET Center .
  • Fib-Sem Collaboration Core (F-SCC) created
  • Strategic planning with key stakeholders begins Fall, 2023
  • Work is ongoing

Translational Medicine/Clinical Trials - 2020 Plan

Translational medicine/clinical trials - progress.

  • A YCCI team has been formed to address the diversity of clinical trials and has successfully received major funding to explore new templates from FDA and PhRMA Foundation
  • A new Faculty Advisory Committee for YCCI has been formed and a strategic planning process will move forward in fall 2023.

Institutional Infrastructure

Office of team science - 2020 plan, biorepository - 2020 plan, biorepository - progress.

  • Created YSM Biobank , a coordinated biorepository that allows for the alignment of collected tissue, plasma, serum and genetic samples, and clinical data, using common processes and information systems. Led by Chen Liu, MD, PhD.
  • UNC Chapel Hill

Strategic Plan

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development
  • Service to the State and the World
  • Administration and Infrastructure

Strategic Plan, Forward Together

Strategic Plan

The School of Medicine supports a rich array of outstanding basic, clinical and population research programs, centers, and resources across the translation spectrum. The infrastructure and opportunities for collaboration support highly innovative research that fulfills our goal to positively impact the health of patients and serve the University, the State and beyond.

strategic plan for research department

Research Strategic Priorities

  • Guide investment for UNC to achieve national/global leadership in top research thematic areas
  • Set clinical departments on a path toward national leadership in research
  • Increase engagement with industry as part of an ongoing effort to grow translational and clinical research
  • Strengthen the UNC research infrastructure including organization, governance, and administration to ensure UNC School of Medicine research remains at the cutting edge

Year 4 – Key Accomplishments*

  • SOM research funding increased to $626,680,505 in FY23 and overall has increased by more than $89M over the last four years and $115.9M over the last five years.
  • All basic science departments remain in the top 10 for NIH funding and 11 clinical departments are in the top 30.
  • SOM expanded the Physician Scientist Training Program in its third year with the addition of two PSTP fellows and three PSTP faculty awards. The program has supported 17 physician scientists since its inception.
  • Forward Together supported the successful hire of three faculty jointly hired by basic and clinical departments to bolster translational research. The SOM officially launched the UNC Clinical Research Alliance (also known as the Academic Research Organization or ARO) to support large multi-site clinical trials.
  • The SOM provided funding support to 8 clinical departments for 23 clinician scientists supported by NIH K awards
  • Strategic funds supported funding for three Emerging Challenges in Biomedical Research (ECBR) Awards, four Neurospark awards, and three Computational Medicine pilot awards.
  • The Program for Precision Medicine in Healthcare created the Clinical Genomic Analysis (GENYSIS) Core Facility which provides bioinformatics support, variant analysis, and post-report clinical services for clinical genomic sequencing research.
  • The CRSO selected four new clinical trialist scholars for FY23-24 to provide training for developing new site investigators for multicenter clinical trials
  • The SOM received a $25M gift to establish the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute and a $7.5M pledge ($10M total) for the MPS Research and Treatment Center
  • $1.14M was invested in support of our core facility infrastructure, including more than $263k in core vouchers.
  • $452,631 was invested to support departmental and center shared equipment.
  • 13 faculty received $510k in support from SOM Bridge and Boost award programs.

Tracking Implementation Progress – Year 4, Q4

Research news, imperative administration.

Blossom Damania

Blossom Damania, PhD

Vice Dean for Research

Research Imperative Lead

Jennifer Brennan

Jennifer Brennan, PhD

Director, SOM Office of Research

Research Imperative Administrator

The SOM Strategic Plan has provided a vital roadmap to secure continued success and growth across our translational research pipeline.   Key strategic programs and infrastructure have received significant resources and the dedicated leadership to monitor our progress and celebrate the success of our research programs.

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An analysis of the strategic plan development processes of major public organisations funding health research in nine high-income countries worldwide

Cristina morciano.

1 Research Coordination and Support Service, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161 Rome, Italy

Maria Cristina Errico

Carla faralli.

2 National Centre for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

Luisa Minghetti

Associated data.

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article in Additional file 1 .

There have been claims that health research is not satisfactorily addressing healthcare challenges. A specific area of concern is the adequacy of the mechanisms used to plan investments in health research. However, the way organisations within countries devise research agendas has not been systematically reviewed. This study seeks to understand the legal basis, the actors and the processes involved in setting research agendas in major public health research funding organisations.

We reviewed information relating to the formulation of strategic plans by 11 public funders in nine high-income countries worldwide. Information was collected from official websites and strategic plan documents in English, French, Italian and Spanish between January 2019 and December 2019, by means of a conceptual framework and information abstraction form.

We found that the formulation of a strategic plan is a common and well-established practice in shaping research agendas across international settings. Most of the organisations studied are legally required to present a multi-year strategic plan. In some cases, legal provisions may set rules for actors and processes and may establish areas of research and/or types of research to be funded. Commonly, the decision-making process involves both internal and external stakeholders, with the latter being generally government officials and experts, and few examples of the participation of civil society. The process also varies across organisations depending on whether there is a formal requirement to align to strategic priorities developed by an overarching entity at national level. We also found that, while actors and their interactions were traceable, information, sources of information, criteria and the mechanisms/tools used to shape decisions were made less explicit.


A complex picture emerges in which multiple interactive entities appear to shape research plans. Given the complexity of the influences of different parties and factors, the governance of the health research sector would benefit from a traceable and standardised knowledge-based process of health research strategic planning. This would provide an opportunity to demonstrate responsible budget stewardship and, more importantly, to make efforts to remain responsive to healthcare challenges, research gaps and opportunities.

Advances in scientific knowledge have contributed greatly to improvements in healthcare, but there have been claims that health research is not adequately addressing healthcare challenges. These concerns are reflected in the increasing debate over the adequacy of the mechanisms used to plan investment in health research and ensure its optimal distribution [ 1 – 5 ].

Over recent decades, methods and tools have been produced in order to guide the process of setting the health research agenda and facilitate more explicit and transparent judgment regarding research priorities. There is no single method that is considered appropriate for all settings and purposes, yet it is recognised that their optimal application requires a knowledge of health needs, research gaps and the perspectives of key stakeholders [ 6 – 10 ].

A number of studies have described initiatives to set health research agendas. Several articles refer to experiences focusing on specific health conditions, for example, those undertaken under the framework of the James Lind Alliance [ 11 ]. There are also reviews of disparate examples of research agenda-setting in low- and middle-income countries [ 12 , 13 ] as well as in high-income countries (HICs) [ 14 ]. These initiatives were highly heterogeneous with regard to their promotor (public organisations, academics, advocacy groups, etc.), the level of the research system (global, regional, national, sub-national, organisational or sub-organisational) and the scope of the prioritisation process (broad themes or specific research questions).

However, there are no studies that have specifically investigated the way large public organisations in HICs devise their research agendas and to what extent this is linked to regulations and organisational setup. In 2016, Moher et al. reported on how research funders had addressed recommendations to increase value and reduce waste in biomedical research [ 15 ]. Within this framework, they provided a general overview of setting the overall agenda in a convenient sample of six public funders of health research. They also affirmed the need for a “ periodic survey of information on research funders’ websites about their principle and methods used to decide what research to support ” [ 15 ]. At the same time, Viergever et al. identified the 10 largest funders of health research in the world and recommended further study of their priority-setting processes [ 16 ].

Given this context, we wished to provide an updated and thorough description of the way public funders of research in HICs devise their research agenda. We therefore analysed the regulatory framework for the actors and processes involved in developing the strategic plan in 11 major English and non-English speaking public research funders across 9 HICs worldwide.

Strategic planning

Our analysis focused on the development of the strategic plan, or strategic planning, at organisational level as a crucial step in the setting of the research agenda by the organisation. By the term ‘setting the research agenda’, we meant the whole-organisation research management planning cycle, which may encompass multiple decision-making level (organisational, sub-organisational, research programme level, etc.) actors and funding flows.

Strategic planning has been defined in social science as a “ deliberative, disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization (or other entity) is, what it does, and why ” [ 17 ].

The strategic plan is assumed to be the final outcome of the strategic planning process, in which priority-setting is the key milestone. It is therefore expected that the research priorities of the organisation will be included. Depending on mandate, priorities could be related to research topics (e.g. health conditions or diseases), types of research (e.g. basic or clinical) and/or other planned initiatives (e.g. workforce or research integrity).

The choice to focus on strategic planning was also guided by the fact that it is known from social science that strategic planning is a well-established practice within public organisations worldwide [ 17 , 18 ]. This would enable us to ensure comparability of information on modalities of decision-making in research planning across organisations from different countries.

Selection of public organisations

We created a list of public funders of health research, drawing from a previous study in which the authors identified 55 public and philanthropic organisations and listed them according to their annual expenditure on health research [ 16 ]. In order to strike a balance between learning about the practices of health research funders, and keeping data collection feasible and manageable, we restricted our sample to two organisations per country, with health research budgets of more than 200 million USD annually. In doing so, we identified a manageable subsample of 35 organisations having the greatest potential influence on research agendas, both locally and globally, and representing different health research systems in different countries.

We based our overview on publicly available information and restricted our sample to those organisations with published strategic research plans in English, French, Italian or Spanish (Additional file 1 ).

Information search and abstraction

Since we expected processes to vary across organisations, we did not use guidelines or best practices for strategic planning, which allowed us to document a wide range of experiences. As mentioned earlier, we based this overview on the collection of publicly available information by means of a conceptual framework and an information abstraction form (Box  1 , Additional file 1 ).

We based the conceptual framework on Walt and Gilson’s policy analysis model [ 19 ] and the information that could actually be retrieved after an initial assessment of the available information. The conceptual framework and the data abstraction form were conceived in an effort to (1) standardise the search for and collection of information across organisations, (2) render the collection process more transparent, and (3) make the retrieved information more understandable to readers.

Three authors (CM, CF and MCE) performed the review of information and the compilation of the form independently, with differences of opinion resolved by discussion. Information was collected in duplicate from 1 January 2019 to 31 July 2019. Before submitting the article, we updated the information by accessing and reviewing the official websites of the included organisations until 10 December 2019.

We searched for information that answered our questions by (1) browsing the funding organisations’ official websites and following links providing information about the organisations, e.g. Who we are, About us, Mission, Laws and statutes, Funding opportunities and other similar web pages, and by (2) identifying and reviewing strategic plans. When an organisation was composed of multiple sub-organisations, we limited our analysis to the strategic planning of the overarching organisation.

A second phase of research consisted of producing a profile for each organisation according to the data extraction form (Additional file 1 ). Bearing in mind that the results of this analysis could have been very general, we also used two organisations as case studies to provide more detailed examples of planning and implementing research priorities at the organisational level. We accessed and reviewed the official websites of the case study organisations until 14 April 2020. We did not contact organisations directly to obtain additional information. After collecting and analysing the information, we produced a narrative overview of our findings.

Box 1 Conceptual framework

Organisation profile

 This section describes the funding organisation and its role and relationship with other overarching governmental bodies.

What are the contents of the strategic plan?

 This section examines the publicly available strategic plan of the funding organisation. The strategic plan is assumed to be the final outcome of the strategic planning process and includes the research priorities of the organisation. Depending on the mandate of the organisation, the research priorities are those related to research topics (for example, health conditions/diseases), types of research (for example, basic research, clinical research) and/or other planned initiatives within the mandate of the organisation (e.g. workforce, research integrity).

Regulatory basis

 This part seeks to understand if there is an official basis for strategic planning, for example, a law or a government document that establishes processes and actors for setting priorities.

What are the process and tools of strategic planning?

 This section seeks to describe the processes and tools for identifying the research priorities included in the strategic plan, including whether or not there are explicit mechanisms, criteria, instruments and information to guide and inform the process of strategic planning such as a research landscape analysis or a more structured experience of priority-setting.

Who are the actors involved?

 This section examines who the involved actors are in preparing the strategic plan; for example, who coordinates the process and who is involved in the process (e.g. clinicians, patients, citizens, researchers) and how the organisation relates with other entities in preparing the strategic plan.

Included organisations

We included 11 public organisations with a publicly available strategic plan in English, Spanish, French or Italian (Additional file 1 ). There were two from the United States, two from France, and one each from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy, Spain and Singapore. The mandates of the organisations were diverse – some had the task of funding research and other activities in support of health research, while others were involved in both funding and conducting health research (Table  1 ).

Description of the selected organisations and of the development of their strategic plan

The strategic plan: format and content

The strategic plans varied in format (Additional file 1 ). While some organisations indicated broad lines of research, others structured their strategic plan in a complex hierarchy with high-level priorities connected to goals and sub-goals. In some cases, indicators, or menus of indicators, were added to monitor progress of the planned work and/or assess the impact of the research. In some research plans, the type of research funding (e.g. responsive, commissioned, research training) and budget were explicitly linked to research priorities.

With regard to content, some organisations focused their strategy on supporting the production of new knowledge of specific diseases or conditions. Others prepared a comprehensive strategy to support different functions of the health research system, such as producing knowledge, sustaining the workforce and infrastructure, developing policies for research integrity and conceiving processes for making more informed decisions. Some strategic plans briefly described the research environment at the national, organisational or programme level. One organisation described the process used to develop health research priorities.

Most of the organisations are legally required to present a multi-year strategic plan or at least annual research priorities. In addition, legislation sets rules and procedures by covering subjects such as the actors to be involved, the documents to be consulted and the format of the strategic plan document to be adopted. In some cases, legal provisions indicate areas and/or types of research to be funded (Table  1 ).

Commonly, the main actors are the top-level policy-makers of the organisations. A spectrum of external stakeholders from multiple sectors may be involved and their participation varies across organisations. External stakeholders can be members of academia or government research agencies, or industry professionals and policy-makers. Most frequently, they have a membership role in organisational governing bodies (boards and committees) (Table  1 ).

The government maintains a role in shaping the strategic plan to various extents in different organisations. This may involve producing nationwide strategic plans for research that the organisations have to adopt or align to, directing attention to specific research priorities or types of research, having representatives in the governing bodies of the organisations and retaining the power of final approval of the organisations’ strategic plans (Table  1 ). Other actors involved are overarching government agencies, which play a role in managing or coordinating the research plan at the national level. Examples of this are the Spanish National Research Agency and United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI). When this study was being conducted, the latter had just been established and been given the role of developing a coherent national research strategy.

The participation of civil society in governing bodies, temporary committees or consultation exercises was far less common. There are representatives of the public in the advisory bodies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; e.g. the Advisory Committee to the Director).

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), acting under the terms of the NHMRC Act, established the Community and Consumer Advisory Group. This is a working committee whose function is to provide advice on health questions and health and medical research matters, from consumer and community perspectives. Most notably, the United States Department of Defense – Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (DoD-CDMRP) involve consumers (patients, their representatives and caregivers) at all levels of the funding process, from strategic planning to the peer-review process of research proposals. Organisations also have external consultation exercises, in which the target audiences and mechanisms implemented vary (Table  1 ).

In order to illustrate the interactions between different actors, we identified two broad categories of organisation. The first comprises those organisations that develop their own plans with a certain degree of independence. Government and legal provisions might provide some direction. In this group are the NIH, the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm), the Italian Ministry of Health (MoH), the NHMRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the DoD-CDMRP, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (Table  1 ).

The second category is made up of those organisations whose research planning derives from the strategic plan of an overarching entity. In this group are the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) and the MRC. Both categories are represented in the case studies below.

An example of the first category from the United States is the 5-year strategic plan, NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2016–2020: Turning Discovery Into Health, developed by the NIH at the request of Congress. Legislation provides direction on some criteria for setting priorities in the plan, but it is the NIH Director who develops it in consultation with internal (Centres, Institutes and Offices) and external stakeholders (see the NIH case study).

In Australia, the Chief Executive Officer of the NHMRC identifies major national health issues likely to arise during the 4-year period covered by the plan and devises the strategy in consultation with the Minister for Health and the NHMRC governing bodies. The Minister provides guidance on the NHMRC’s strategic priorities and approves or revises the plan. In Canada, the governing bodies of the CIHR are responsible for devising the strategic plan. The Deputy Minister of the Department of Health participates as a non-voting member of one of the governing bodies.

The common characteristic of the second category is that the process of strategic planning derives from one or more overarching entities. This means that the strategic plans of the organisations are informed to various extents by the research programmes of such an entity or entities. In some cases, there is a main institution with research coordination and/or management roles at the national level. For example, in Spain, in order to inform funding grants, the ISCIII adopted the research priorities set out in the Strategic Action for Health included in the State Plan for Science, Innovation and Technology 2017–2020 . This plan, elaborated by the Government Delegated Committee for the Policies for Research, Technology and Innovation ( la Comisión Delegada del Gobierno para Política Scientífica, Tecnológica y de Innovación ), in cooperation with the Ministry of Fianance, is aligned with the four strategic objectives of the Spanish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2013–2020. The newly established Spanish State Research Agency ( Agencia Estatal de Investigacion ) also participated in the development of the State Plan. However, its role is mainly in monitoring the plan’s funding, including ISCIII funding for the Strategic Action for Health.

UKRI, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is the body responsible for the development of a coherent national research strategy that balances the allocation of funding across different disciplines. In 2018, the MRC became a committee body of UKRI, alongside eight other committees, called ‘Councils’, which represent various research sectors. The MRC is required to develop a strategic plan that is coherent with the strategic objectives set by UKRI. This plan must be approved by the UKRI Board, the governing body responsible for ensuring that Council plans are consistent with the UKRI strategy.

In Singapore, the NMRC refers to the strategic plan developed by the National Research Foundation, a department within the Prime Minister’s Office. The NMRC has a well-described system for incorporating national priorities into the organisation’s research plan (see the NMRC case study).

With regard to the information, sources of information, criteria and mechanisms used to shape decisions, the included organisations were less explicit. Most commonly, organisations introduced health research priorities with an overview of major general advancements in biomedical research or a catalogue of organisational activities and a research portfolio.

A small number of organisations presented a brief situational analysis of the health and health research sectors. In these cases, the scope and nature of the presented information varied from one organisation to another (Additional file 1 ).

For example, the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan contains a brief summary of the state of research at the organisational level. The plans of each DoD-CDMRP health research programme present a summary of both the current health and health research landscapes at the national level.

Other organisations stated that the plan had been supported by information analysis of the research field, but they did not report explicitly on this work.

Case studies

The national institutes of health (nih).

The NIH is an operating division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services whose mission is to improve public health by conducting and funding basic and translational biomedical research. It is made up of 27 theme-based Institutes, Centers and Offices, each of which develops an individual strategic plan [ 20 ].

The first 5-year strategic plan, NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2016–2020: Turning Discovery into Health, was prepared at the request of Congress and published in 2016 [ 21 ]. The legal framework stipulates that the NIH-coordinated strategy will inform the individual strategic plans of the Institutes and Centers. In addition, it provides some direction regarding content and the process to be adopted for generating the overall NIH strategy [ 22 , 23 ]. For example, it sets out specific requirements for the identification of research priorities. These include “ an assessment of the state of biomedical and behavioural research ” and the consideration of “ (i) disease burden in the United States and the potential for return on investment to the United States; (ii) rare diseases and conditions; (iii) biological, social, and other determinants of health that contributes to health disparities; and (iv) other factors the Director of National Institutes of Health determines appropriate ” [ 23 ]. The NIH Director is also required to consult “ with the directors of the national research institutes and national centers, researchers, patient advocacy groups and industry leaders ” [ 23 ]. To fulfil the request of Congress, the NIH Director and the Principal Deputy Director initiated the process by creating a draft ‘framework’ for the strategic plan. This framework was designed with the purposes of identifying major areas of research that cut across NIH priorities and of setting out principles to guide the NIH research effort (‘unifying principles’).

The development of the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan involved extensive internal and external consultations throughout the process. Consultees included the ad hoc NIH-Wide Strategic Plan Working Group, composed of representatives of all 27 Institutes, Centers and Offices, the Advisory Committee to the Director, which is an NIH standing committee of experts in research fields relevant to the NIH mission, and representatives of the research community (from academia and the private sector) and the general public. The framework was also presented at meetings with the National Advisory Councils of the Institutes and Centers.

In addition, the framework was disseminated to external stakeholders for comments and suggestions, which were solicited via a series of public webinars and through the initiative Request for Information: Inviting Comments and Suggestions on a Framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan. In this case, a web-based form collected comments and suggestions on a predefined list of topic areas from a wide array of stakeholders representative of patient advocacy organisations, professional associations, private hospitals and companies, academic institutions, government and private citizens [ 24 – 27 ]. A report on the analysis of the public comments is publicly available [ 27 ].

The National Medical Research Council (NMRC)

The NMRC is the organisation that has the role of promoting, coordinating and funding biomedical research in Singapore [ 28 ]. It has developed its own research strategy by adopting the research priorities indicated by the national research strategy in the domain of health and biomedical sciences [ 29 ].

The national research strategy is the responsibility of the National Research Foundation, a department of the Prime Minister’s Office. It defines broad research priorities relating to various areas of research identified as ‘domains’. Within the health and biomedical sciences domain, five areas of research have been proposed with input from the Ministry of Health and the Health and Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council. These are cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, neurological and sense disorders, diabetes mellitus and other metabolic/endocrine conditions. Criteria for selection of the areas of focus were “ disease impact, scientific excellence in Singapore and national needs ” [ 29 ].

The approach of NMRC to implementing the national research strategy at organisational level involves the establishment of ‘task forces’, i.e. groups of experts, with the role of defining the specific research strategy for each of the five areas of focus. Each task force provides documentation of research recommendations and methods used to prioritise research topics [ 30 ].

For example, the Neurological and Sense Disorders Task Force identified sub-areas of research 1 after analysing the local burden of neurological and sense disorders as well as considering factors such as local scientific expertise and research talent, ongoing efforts in neurological and sense disorders, industry interest, and opportunities for Singapore. As part of the effort, input was also solicited from the research community and policy-makers. This research prioritisation exercise served for both the NMRC grant scheme and a 10-year research roadmap [ 31 ].

Our study is the first to report on the processes used by a set of large national public funders to develop health research strategic plans. In line with findings from public management literature [ 16 , 17 ], we found that the formulation of a strategic plan is a well-established practice in shaping research agendas across international settings and it is a legal requirement for the majority of the organisations we studied.

We were able to reconstruct the process for developing the strategic plan by identifying the main actors involved and how they are connected. A complex picture emerges, in which multiple interactive entities and forces, often organised in a non-linear dynamic, appear to shape the research plans. In general, an organisation has to take into account legislative provisions, government directives, national overall research plans, national health plans and specific disease area plans. In some cases, it has to consider ‘institutionalised’ allocation of resources across organisations’ sub-entities (institutes, centres and units), which are historically associated with a particular disease or type of research.

On the other hand, we found little documentation of the decision-making mechanisms and information used to inform decision-making. There were, for example, few references to health research needs, research capabilities, the sources of information consulted, and the principles and criteria applied. This despite the increasing attention being paid nationally and internationally to the need for an explicit evidence-based or rational approach to setting health research priorities, particularly in the light of current economic constraints [ 3 , 32 , 33 ]. Given the complexity of the influences of different parties and factors, the governance of the health research sector would benefit from a traceable knowledge-based process of strategic planning, similar to that advocated for the health sector [ 34 ].

We found, however, evidence of an increasing interest in improving ways to establish research priorities at the organisational level. For example, NIH has brought forward the Senate request to develop a coordinated research strategy by including, in the strategic plan, the intention to further improve the processes for setting NIH research priorities and to optimise approaches to making informed funding decisions [ 21 ].

Recently, the DoD-CDMRP, the second largest funder of health research in the United States, reviewed its research management practices upon the recommendations of an ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. In the area of strategic planning, the committee recommended an analysis of the funding landscape across different agencies and organisations, the identification of short- and long-term research needs, and harmonisation with the research priorities of other organisations [ 35 ].

In its strategic plan, the JSPS has placed particular emphasis on the development of research-on-research capacity and infrastructures to analyse the research landscape at organisational, national and international levels in order to ensure that funding decisions are evidence based [ 36 ].

The allocation of sufficient resources to develop the infrastructure and technical expertise required for collection, analysis and dissemination of a portfolio of relevant data should be considered a necessary step when a funding organisation or country decides to implement standardised approaches for strategic planning and priority-setting.

Additionally, from the perspective of health research as a system, data collection and analyses should not be limited to ‘what is funded’, but should also include ‘who is funded and where’, and be linked to research policies and their long-term outcomes. The benefit of such an approach is not limited to the prevention of unnecessary duplication of research. Support would also be provided for producing formal mechanisms to coordinate research effort across research entities, within and among countries. Collaborations with other non-profit as well as for-profit organisations would be promoted and the capacity for research would be created and strengthened where necessary.

A number of resources and initiatives in this field already exist at organisational and national level. For example, the NIH has the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools, a public repository of data and other tools from NIH research activities [ 37 ]. This repository is linked to Federal RePORTER, an infrastructure that makes data on federal investments in science available. In the United Kingdom, the Health Research Classification System performs regular analysis of the funding landscape of United Kingdom health research to support monitoring, strategy development and coordination [ 38 ].

At the international level, there is ongoing global work to shape evidence-based health research decisions and coordination. In 2013, the WHO Global Observatory on Health R&D was established “ in order to monitor and analyze relevant information on health research and development, […] with a view to contributing to the identification of gaps and opportunities for health research and development and defining priorities […] and to facilitate the development of a global shared research agenda ” [ 33 ]. This effort has been coupled with a global call to action, which asks governments to create or strengthen national health research observatories and contribute to the WHO Observatory. Furthermore, the Clinical Research Initiative for Global Health, a consortium of research organisations across the world, has ongoing projects that will map clinical research networks and funding capacity and conduct clinical research at a global level [ 39 ].

A further key area that deserves comment is the engagement of stakeholders. In general, a spectrum of external stakeholders from multiple sectors is involved and the extent of this involvement varies across organisations. Decision-making processes commonly include people from government bodies, academia, research agencies and industry. However, we found that the participation of civil society, here represented by the intended beneficiaries of research such as health professionals, patients and their carers, remains limited. The fact that decision-making is still the domain of government officials and experts is an unexpected finding. There is a widespread consensus that the participation of a mix of stakeholders can improve the process of strategic planning. The logic behind this is that representatives of those who are affected by decisions can bring new information and perspectives and improve the effectiveness of the process [ 17 , 32 , 40 ]. Broader inclusion is desirable, both for granting legitimacy to strategic planning and for advancing equity in healthcare. Decisions on research priorities shape knowledge and, ultimately, they determine whether patients and their carers will have access to healthcare options that meet their needs [ 41 ].

Additionally, our study shows that the involvement of civil society is not only desirable but is also feasible. Organisations that support the participation of civil society have this practice firmly embedded in their governance, although it may be implemented in different ways.

Strengths and limitations

A particular strength of our study is the innovative way in which we approached the disorienting complexity of whole-organisation planning cycle management. This allowed us to contribute to an understanding of the processes used by large public funders not only in English-speaking countries but also in France, Italy and Spain.

However, one potential limitation concerns the accuracy and completeness of the information. This drawback was imposed by both the unstructured nature of the information and its fragmentation across multiple webpages and legal and/or administrative documents. Nevertheless, we strove to ensure accuracy, consistency and a clear presentation of the relevant information by means of a conceptual framework and a data abstraction form. In addition, to guarantee the reliability of the data, two reviewers abstracted the information independently, before discussing it and reaching a consensus. The use of more accessible information, e.g. through single documents, would therefore be advisable to improve accountability and transparency. This would also be of particular importance for exchanging knowledge and promoting research in the specific field of research governance.

In addition to the limitations imposed by the available data, there is a potential limitation in the methodology of the study. In conducting our research, we decided to rely only on publicly available information and we did not ask organisations for further details. Consequently, we may have missed some actions and drawn an incomplete picture of the organisations presented. Our strategy was based on the assumption that, if a strategic plan existed, both it and a description of its associated decision-making process would be present in the public domain, given that transparency in decision-making is an acknowledged element of good public organisation governance [ 42 ]. We would therefore counter that the process should be more transparent and should address, in particular, the criteria and information used to support decision-making.

In addition, it was not possible to ascertain in detail how processes actually took place. For example, engaging external stakeholders, such as representatives of civil society, is a key feature of the organisations included in the study but we do not know whether this engagement was meaningful or simply granted legitimacy to leadership decisions.

Furthermore, by limiting our inclusion criteria to organisations with strategic plans publicly available in English, French, Spanish and Italian, we excluded two German organisations (the German Research Foundation and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung – the Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and two Chinese bodies (the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Ministry of Health). These organisations could have been included on the basis of their health research budgets. While it is unlikely that these bodies from two countries with similar health research systems have practices that would have changed our conclusions, it would nevertheless be useful in the future to acquire information regarding their experiences in this area.

Future research

Having considered the abovementioned limitations, we recommend that qualitative research be conducted to further validate our findings by complementing the information presented here with data gathered from key informants within each organisation. We also suggest that the study be extended to include other organisations and countries. Additional research should also expand on our study by more deeply exploring the perspectives of the members of external stakeholder bodies regarding their involvement in strategic planning within each organisation. Making this information accessible would benefit those funder organisations who wish to both increase public engagement in health research decision-making and make it more meaningful.

It would also be interesting to explore whether and why funder organisations are influenced by the research plans of other organisations (including academic, advocacy and international bodies) within and among countries, and whether they have formal mechanisms in place to coordinate with other such organisations. This information would be of use in guiding research coordination policies, with the aim of avoiding duplication of effort and identifying not only gaps in research but also overlapping interests and opportunities for partnerships.

Our study illustrates the variety of the processes adopted in developing strategic plans for health research in the international setting. A complex picture emerges in which multiple interactive entities appear to shape research plans. Although we found documentation of the actors involved in the processes, much less was available on the mechanisms, information, criteria and tools used to inform decision-making.

Given the complexity of the influences of different parties and factors, both funding organisations and health sector governance would benefit from a traceable knowledge-based process of strategic planning. The benefits of such an approach are not limited to demonstrating responsible budget stewardship as it would also provide opportunities to respond to research gaps and healthcare needs and to move more effectively from basic to translational research.

Supplementary information


The authors thank Letizia Sampaolo, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the information specialist who made an initial search of relevant scientific articles, and Stephen James for English language review of the manuscript.


Authors’ contributions.

CM conceived of the study and made a first drafted the work. CM, MCE and CF abstracted the data and compiled the organisations’ profiles. LM contributed to the draft and substantively revised the work. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

This research was partly supported by funding for 'Ricerca Corrente' of  the Istituto Superiore di Sanità. 

Availability of data and materials

Ethics approval and consent to participate.

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Competing interests.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

1 Neurodegenerative diseases (vascular dementia and Parkinson’s diseases), neurodegenerative eye diseases (age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma), mental health disorders (depression) and neurotechnology.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Contributor Information

Cristina Morciano, Email: [email protected] .

Maria Cristina Errico, Email: [email protected] .

Carla Faralli, Email: [email protected] .

Luisa Minghetti, Email: [email protected] .

Supplementary information accompanies this paper at 10.1186/s12961-020-00620-x.

The Complete Guide to Writing a Strategic Plan

By Joe Weller | April 12, 2019 (updated July 17, 2021)

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Writing a strategic plan can be daunting, as the process includes many steps. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of writing a strategic plan, what to include, common challenges, and more.

Included on this page, you'll find details on what to include in a strategic plan , the importance of an executive summary , how to write a mission statement , how to write a vision statement , and more.

The Basics of Writing a Strategic Plan

The strategic planning process takes time, but the payoff is huge. If done correctly, your strategic plan will engage and align stakeholders around your company’s priorities.

Strategic planning, also called strategy development or analysis and assessment , requires attention to detail and should be performed by someone who can follow through on next steps and regular updates. Strategic plans are not static documents — they change as new circumstances arise, both internally and externally.

Before beginning the strategic planning process, it’s important to make sure you have buy-in from management, a board of directors, or other leaders. Without it, the process cannot succeed.

Next, gather your planning team. The group should include people from various departments at different levels, and the planning process should be an open, free discussion within the group. It’s important for leaders to get input from the group as a whole, but they don’t necessarily need approval from everyone — that will slow down the process.

The plan author is responsible for writing and putting the final plan together and should work with a smaller group of writers to establish and standardize the tone and style of the final document or presentation.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to hire an external party to help facilitate the strategic planning process.

John Bryson

“It often can be helpful to have a really good facilitator to organize and pursue strategic conversations,” says Professor John M. Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota and author of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement .

Byson says the facilitator can be in-house or external, but they need experience. “You need to make sure someone is good, so there needs to be a vetting process,” he says.

One way to gauge a facilitator’s experience is by asking how they conduct conversations. “It’s important for facilitators to lead by asking questions,” Bryson says.

Bryson says that strong facilitators often ask the following questions:

What is the situation we find ourselves in?

What do we do?

How do we do it?

How do we link our purposes to our capabilities?

The facilitators also need to be able to handle conflict and diffuse situations by separating idea generation from judgement. “Conflict is part of strategic planning,” Bryson admits. “[Facilitators] need to hold the conversations open long enough to get enough ideas out there to be able to make wise choices.”

These outside helpers are sometimes more effective than internal facilitators since they are not emotionally invested in the outcome of the process. Thus, they can concentrate on the process and ask difficult questions.

A strategic plan is a dynamic document or presentation that details your company’s present situation, outlines your future plans, and shows you how the company can get there. You can take many approaches to the process and consider differing ideas about what needs to go into it, but some general concepts stand.

“Strategic planning is a prompt or a facilitator for fostering strategic thinking, acting, and learning,” says Bryson. He explains that he often begins planning projects with three questions:

What do you want to do?

How are we going to do it?

What would happen if you did what you want to do?

The answers to these questions make up the meat of the planning document.

A strategic plan is only effective when the writing and thinking is clear, since the intent is to help an organization keep to its mission through programs and capacity, while also building stakeholder engagement.

Question 1: Where Are We Now?

The answer (or answers) to the first question — where are we now? — addresses the foundation of your organization, and it can serve as an outline for the following sections of your strategic plan:

Mission statement

Core values and guiding principles

Identification of competing organizations

Industry analysis (this can include a SWOT or PEST analysis)

Question 2: Where Are We Going?

The answers to this question help you identify your goals for the future of the business and assess whether your current trajectory is the future you want. These aspects of the plan outline a strategy for achieving success and can include the following:

Vision statement about what the company will look like in the future

What is happening (both internally and externally) and what needs to change

The factors necessary for success

Question 3: How Do We Get There?

The answers to this question help you outline the many routes you can take to achieve your vision and match your strengths with opportunities in the market. A Gantt chart can help you map out and keep track of these initiatives.

You should include the following sections:

Specific and measurable goals

An execution plan that identifies who manages and monitors the plan

An evaluation plan that shows how you plan to measure the successes and setbacks that come with implementation

What to Include in a Strategic Plan

Strategic planning terminology is not standardized throughout the industry, and this can lead to confusion. Instead, strategic planning experts use many names for the different sections of a strategic plan.

Denise McNerney

“The terms are all over the map. It’s really the concept of what the intention of the terms are [that is important],” says Denise McNerney, President and CEO of iBossWell, Inc. , and incoming president of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). She recommends coming up with a kind of glossary that defines the terms for your team. “One of the most important elements when you’re starting the strategic planning process is to get some clarity on the nomenclature. It’s just what works for your organization. Every organization is slightly different.”

No matter what terms you use, the general idea of a strategic plan is the same. “It’s like drawing a map for your company. One of the first steps is committing to a process, then determining how you’re going to do it,” McNerney explains.

She uses a basic diagram that she calls the strategic plan architecture . The areas above the red dotted line are the strategic parts of the plan. Below the red dotted line are the implementation pieces.

Strategic Plan Architecture

While the specific terminology varies, basic sections of a strategic plan include the following in roughly this order:

Executive summary

Elevator pitch or company description

Vision statement

Industry analysis

Marketing plan

Operations plan

Financial projections

Evaluation methods

Signature page

Some plans will contain all the above sections, but others will not — what you include depends on your organization’s structure and culture.

“I want to keep it simple, so organizations can be successful in achieving [the strategic plan],” McNerney explains. “Your plan has to be aligned with your culture and your culture needs to be aligned with your plan if you’re going to be successful in implementing it.”

The following checklist will help you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do.

Writing A Strategic Plan Section

‌ Download Strategic Plan Sections Checklist

How to Write a Strategic Plan

Once you’ve assembled your team and defined your terms, it’s time to formalize your ideas by writing the strategic plan. The plan may be in the form of a document, a presentation, or another format.

You can use many models and formats to create your strategic plan (read more about them in this article ). However, you will likely need to include some basic sections, regardless of the particular method you choose (even if the order and way you present them vary). In many cases, the sections of a strategic plan build on each other, so you may have to write them in order.

One tip: Try to avoid jargon and generic terms; for example, words like maximize and succeed lose their punch. Additionally, remember that there are many terms for the same object in strategic planning.

The following sections walk you through how to write common sections of a strategic plan.

How to Write an Executive Summary

The key to writing a strong executive summary is being clear and concise. Don’t feel pressured to put anything and everything into this section — executive summaries should only be about one to two pages long and include the main points of the strategic plan.

The idea is to pique the reader’s interest and get them to read the rest of the plan. Because it functions as a review of the entire document, write the executive summary after you complete the rest of your strategic plan.

Jim Stockmal

“If you have a plan that’s really lengthy, you should have a summary,” says Jim Stockmal, President of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). He always writes summaries last, after he has all the data and information he needs for the plan. He says it is easier to cut than to create something.

For more information about writing an effective executive summary, a checklist, and free templates, read this article .

If you want a one-page executive summary, this template can help you decide what information to include.

One-page Executive Summary Template

Download One-Page Executive Summary Template

Excel | Word | PDF

How to Write a Company Description

Also called an elevator pitch , the company description is a brief outline of your organization and what it does. It should be short enough that it can be read or heard during the average elevator ride.

The company description should include the history of your company, the major products and services you provide, and any highlights and accomplishments, and it should accomplish the following:

Define what you are as a company.

Describe what the company does.

Identify your ideal client and customer.

Highlight what makes your company unique.

While this may seem basic, the company description changes as your company grows and changes. For example, your ideal customer five years ago might not be the same as the current standard or the one you want in five years.

Share the company description with everyone in your organization. If employees cannot accurately articulate what you do to others, you might miss out on opportunities.

How to Write a Mission Statement

The mission statement explains what your business is trying to achieve. In addition to guiding your entire company, it also helps your employees make decisions that move them toward the company’s overall mission and goals.

“Ideally, [the mission statement is] something that describes what you’re about at the highest level,” McNerney says. “It’s the reason you exist or what you do.”

Strong mission statements can help differentiate your company from your competitors and keep you on track toward your goals. It can also function as a type of tagline for your organization.

Mission statements should do the following:

Define your company’s purpose. Say what you do, who you do it for, and why it is valuable.

Use specific and easy-to-understand language.

Be inspirational while remaining realistic.

Be short and succinct.

This is your chance to define the way your company will make decisions based on goals, culture, and ethics. Mission statements should not be vague or generic, and they should set your business apart from others. If your mission statement could define many companies in your line of work, it is not a good mission statement.

Mission statements don’t have to be only outward-facing for customers or partners. In fact, it is also possible to include what your company does for its employees in your mission statement.

Unlike other parts of your strategic plan that are designed to be reviewed and edited periodically, your company’s mission statement should live as is for a while.

That said, make the effort to edit and refine your mission statement. Take out jargon like world class, best possible, state of the art, maximize, succeed , and so on, and cut vague or unspecific phrasing. Then let your strategic planning committee review it.

How to Write a Vision Statement

Every action your company does contributes to its vision. The vision statement explains what your company wants to achieve in the long term and can help inspire and align your team.

“The vision is the highest-ordered statement of the desired future or state of what you want your business to achieve,” McNerney explains.

A clear vision statement can help all stakeholders understand the meaning and purpose of your company. It should encourage and inspire employees while setting your company’s direction. It also helps you rule out elements that might not align with your vision.

Vision statements should be short (a few sentences). They should also be memorable, specific, and ambitious. But there is a fine line between being ambitious and creating a fantasy. The vision should be clearly attainable if you follow the goals and objectives you outline later in your strategic planning plan.

Because you need to know your company’s goals and objectives to create an accurate vision statement, you might need to wait until you have more information about the company’s direction to write your vision statement.

Below are questions to ask your team as you craft your vision statement:

What impact do we want to have on our community and industry?

How will we interact with others as a company?

What is the culture of the business?

Avoid broad statements that could apply to any company or industry. For example, phrases like “delivering a wonderful experience” could apply to many industries. Write in the present tense, avoid jargon, and be clear and concise.

Vision statements should accomplish the following:

Be inspiring.

Focus on success.

Look at and project about five to 10 years ahead.

Stay in line with the goals and values of your organization.

Once you write your vision statement, communicate it to everyone in your company. Your team should be able to easily understand and repeat the company’s vision statement. Remember, the statements can change as the environment in and around your company changes.

The Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements

Mission and vision statements are both important, but they serve very different purposes.

Mission statements show why a business exists, while vision statements are meant to inspire and provide direction. Mission statements are about the present, and vision statements are about the future. The mission provides items to act upon, and the vision offers goals to aspire to.

For example, if a vision statement is “No child goes to bed hungry,” the accompanying mission would be to provide food banks within the city limits.

While many organizations have both mission and vision statements, it’s not imperative. “Not everyone has a vision statement,” McNerney says. “Some organizations just have one.”

If you choose to have only one statement, McNerney offers some advice: “Any statement you have, if you have just one, needs to include what [you do], how [you do it], why [you do it], and who you do it for.”

During the planning process, these key statements might change. “Early on in the process, you need to talk about what you are doing and why and how you are doing it. Sometimes you think you know where you want to go, but you’re not really sure,” McNerney says. “You need to have flexibility both on the plan content and in the process.”

How to Write Your Company’s Core Values

Company core values , sometimes called organizational values , help you understand what drives the company to do what it does. In this section, you’ll learn a lot about your company and the people who work with you. It should be relatively easy to write.

“The values are the core of how you operate [and] how you treat your people, both internally and externally. Values describe the behaviors you really want to advance,” McNerney says.

There are both internal and external values looking at your employees and coworkers, as well as customers and outside stakeholders. Pinpointing values will help you figure out the traits of the people you want to hire and promote, as well as the qualities you’re looking for in your customers.

Your values should align with your vision statement and highlight your strengths while mitigating weaknesses. McNerney says many organizations do not really consider or are not honest about their company’s values when working on strategic plans, which can lead to failure.

“Your strategies have to align with your values and vice versa,” she explains.

Many companies’ values sound like meaningless jargon, so take the time to figure out what matters to your company and push beyond generic language.

How to Write about Your Industry

When planning ahead for your business, it’s important to look around. How are matters inside your company? What are your competitors doing? Who are your target customers?

“[If you don’t do a thorough industry analysis], you’re doing your planning with your head in the sand. If you’re not looking at the world around you, you’re missing a whole dimension about what should inform your decision making,” McNerney advises.

Writing about your industry helps you identify new opportunities for growth and shows you how you need to change in order to take advantage of those opportunities. Identify your key competitors, and define what you see as their strengths and weaknesses. Performing this analysis will help you figure out what you do best and how you compare to your competition. Once you know what you do well, you can exploit your strengths to your advantage.

In this section, also include your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. You can choose from many templates to help you write this section.

Next, identify your target customers. Think about what they want and need, as well as how you can provide it. Do your competitors attract your target customers, or do you have a niche that sets you apart?

The industry analysis carries a price, but also provides many benefits. “It takes some time and money to do [a thorough industry analysis], but the lack of that understanding says a lot about the future of your organization. If you don’t know what is going on around you, how can you stay competitive?” explains McNerney.

How to Write Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

This section is the bulk of your strategic plan. Many people confuse goals and objectives, thinking the terms are interchangeable, but many argue that the two are distinct. You can think of them this way:

Goals : Goals are broad statements about what you want to achieve as a company, and they’re usually qualitative. They function as a description of where you want to go, and they can address both the short and long term.

Objectives : Objectives support goals, and they’re usually quantitative and measurable. They describe how you will measure the progress needed to arrive at the destination you outlined in the goal. More than one objective can support one goal.

For example, if your goal is to achieve success as a strategic planner, your objective would be to write all sections of the strategic plan in one month.

iBossWell, Inc.’s McNerney reiterates that there are not hard and fast definitions for the terms goals and objectives , as well as many other strategic planning concepts. “I wouldn’t attempt to put a definition to the terms. You hear the terms goals and objectives a lot, but they mean different things to different people. What some people call a goal , others call an objective . What some people call an objective , others would call a KPI. ” They key, she explains, is to decide what the terms mean in your organization, explain the definitions to key stakeholders, and stick to those definitions.

How to Write Goals

Goals form the basis of your strategic plan. They set out your priorities and initiatives, and therefore are critical elements and define what your plan will accomplish. Some planning specialists use the term strategic objectives or strategic priorities when referring to goals, but for clarity, this article will use the term goals.

“[Goals] are the higher level that contain several statements about what your priorities are,” McNerney explains. They are often near the top of your plan’s hierarchy.

Each goal should reflect something you uncovered during the analysis phase of your strategic planning process. Goals should be precise and concise statements, not long narratives. For example, your goals might be the following:

Eliminate case backlog.

Lower production costs.

Increase total revenue.

Each goal should have a stated outcome and a deadline. Think of goal writing as a formula: Action + detail of the action + a measurable metric + a deadline = goal. For example, your goal might be: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020.

Another way to look at it: Verb (action) + adjective (description) = noun (result). An example goal: Increase website fundraising.

Your goals should strike a balance between being aspirational and tangible. You want to stretch your limits, but not make them too difficult to reach. Your entire organization and stakeholders should be able to remember and understand your goals.

Think about goals with varying lengths. Some should go out five to 10 years, others will be shorter — some significantly so. Some goals might even be quarterly, monthly, or weekly. But be careful to not create too many goals. Focus on the ones that allow you to zero in on what is critical for your company’s success. Remember, several objectives and action steps will likely come from each goal.

How to Write Objectives

Objectives are the turn-by-turn directions of how to achieve your goals. They are set in statement and purpose with no ambiguity about whether you achieve them or not.

Your goals are where you want to go. Next, you have to determine how to get there, via a few different objectives that support each goal. Note that objectives can cover several areas.

“You need implementation elements of the plan to be successful,” McNerney says, adding that some people refer to objectives as tactics , actions , and many other terms.

Objectives often begin with the words increase or decrease because they are quantifiable and measurable. You will know when you achieve an objective. They are action items, often with start and end dates.

Use the goal example from earlier: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020. In this example, your objectives could be:

Approach three new possible clients each month.

Promote the three key product areas on the website and in email newsletters.

Think of the acronym SMART when writing objectives: Make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound.

Breaking down the process further, some strategic planners use the terms strategies and tactics to label ways to achieve objectives. Using these terms, strategies describe an approach or method you will use to achieve an objective. A tactic is a specific activity or project that achieves the strategy, which, in turn, helps achieve the objective.

How to Write about Capacity, Operations Plans, Marketing Plans, and Financial Plans

After you come up with your goals and objectives, you need to figure out who will do what, how you will market what they do, and how you will pay for what you need to do.

“If you choose to shortchange the process [and not talk about capacity and finances], you need to know what the consequences will be,” explains McNerney. “If you do not consider the additional costs or revenues your plan is going to drive, you may be creating a plan you cannot implement.”

To achieve all the goals outlined in your strategic plan, you need the right people in place. Include a section in your strategic plan where you talk about the capacity of your organization. Do you have the team members to accomplish the objectives you have outlined in order to reach your goals? If not, you may need to hire personnel.

The operations plan maps out your initiatives and shows you who is going to do what, when, and how. This helps transform your goals and objectives into a reality. A summary of it should go into your strategic plan. If you need assistance writing a comprehensive implementation plan for your organization, this article can guide you through the process.

A marketing plan describes how you attract prospects and convert them into customers. You don’t need to include the entire marketing plan in your strategic plan, but you might want to include a summary. For more information about writing marketing plans, this article can help.

Then there are finances. We would all like to accomplish every goal, but sometimes we do not have enough money to do so. A financial plan can help you set your priorities. Check out these templates to help you get started with a financial plan.

How to Write Performance Indicators

In order to know if you are reaching the goals you outline in your strategic plan, you need performance indicators. These indicators will show you what success looks like and ensure accountability. Sadly, strategic plans have a tendency to fail when nobody periodically assesses progress.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) can show you how your business is progressing. KPIs can be both financial and nonfinancial measures that help you chart your progress and take corrective measures if actions are not unfolding as they should. Other terms similar to KPIs include performance measures and performance indicators .

Performance indicators are not always financial, but they must be quantifiable. For example, tracking visitors to a website, customers completing a contact form, or the number of proposals that close with deals are all performance indicators that keep you on track toward achieving your goals.

When writing your performance indicators, pay attention to the following:

Define how often you need to report results.

Every KPI must have some sort of measure.

List a measure and a time period.

Note the data source where you will get your information to measure and track.

ASP’s Stockmal has some questions for you to ask yourself about picking performance indicators.

Are you in control of the performance measure?

Does the performance measure support the strategic outcomes?

Is it feasible?

Is data available?

Who is collecting that data, and how will they do it?

Is the data timely?

Is it cost-effective to collect that data?

ls the goal quantifiable, and can you measure it over time?

Are your targets realistic and time-bound?

Stockmal also says performance indicators cannot focus on only one thing at the detriment of another. “Don’t lose what makes you good,” he says. He adds that focusing on one KPI can hurt other areas of a company’s performance, so reaching a goal can be short-sided.

Some performance indicators can go into your strategic plan, but you might want to set other goals for your organization. A KPI dashboard can help you set up and track your performance and for more information about setting up a KPI dashboard, this article can help.

Communicating Your Strategic Plan

While writing your strategic plan, you should think about how to share it. A plan is no good if it sits on a shelf and nobody reads it.

Stefan Hofmeyer

“After the meetings are over, you have to turn your strategy into action,” says Stefan Hofmeyer, an experienced strategist and co-founder of Global PMI Partners . “Get in front of employees and present the plan [to get everyone involved].” Hofmeyer explains his research has shown that people stay with companies not always because of money, but often because they buy into the organization’s vision and want to play a part in helping it get where it wants to go. “These are the people you want to keep because they are invested,” he says.

Decide who should get a physical copy of the entire plan. This could include management, the board of directors, owners, and more. Do your best to keep it from your competitors. If you distribute it outside of your company, you might want to attach a confidentiality waiver.

You can communicate your plan to stakeholders in the following ways:

Hold a meeting to present the plan in person.

Highlight the plan in a company newsletter.

Include the plan in new employee onboarding.

Post the plan on the employee intranet, along with key highlights and a way to track progress.

If you hold a meeting, make sure you and other key planners are prepared to handle the feedback and discussion that will arise. You should be able to defend your plan and reinforce its key areas. The goal of the plan’s distribution is to make sure everyone understands their role in making the plan successful.

Remind people of your company’s mission, vision, and values to reinforce their importance. You can use posters or other visual methods to post around the office. The more that people feel they play an important part in the organization’s success, they more successful you will be in reaching your goals of your strategic plan.

Challenges in Writing a Strategic Plan

As mentioned, strategic planning is a process and involves a team. As with any team activity, there will be challenges.

Sometimes the consensus can take priority over what is clear. Peer pressure can be a strong force, especially if a boss or other manager is the one making suggestions and people feel pressured to conform. Some people might feel reluctant to give any input because they do not think it matters to the person who ultimately decides what goes into the plan.

Team troubles can also occur when one or more members does not think the plan is important or does not buy into the process. Team leaders need to take care of these troubles before they get out of hand.

Pay attention to your company culture and the readiness you have as a group, and adapt the planning process to fit accordingly. You need to find the balance between the process and the final product.

The planning process takes time. Many organizations do not give themselves enough time to plan properly, and once you finish planning, writing the document or presentation also takes time, as does implementation. Don’t plan so much that you ignore how you are going to put the plan into action. One symptom of this is not aligning the plan to fit the capacity or finances of the company.

Stockmal explains that many organizations often focus too much on the future and reaching their goals that they forget what made them a strong company in the first place. Business architecture is important, which Stockmal says is “building the capabilities the organization needs to fulfill its strategy.” He adds that nothing happens if there is no budget workers to do the work necessary to drive change.

Be careful with the information you gather. Do not take shortcuts in the research phase — that will lead to bad information coming out further in the process. Also, do not ignore negative information you may learn. Overcoming adversity is one way for companies to grow.

Be wary of cutting and pasting either from plans from past years or from other similar organizations. Every company is unique.

And while this may sound obvious, do not ignore what your planning process tells you. Your research might show you should not go in a direction you might want to.

Writing Different Types of Strategic Plans

The strategic planning process will differ based on your organization, but the basic concepts will stay the same. Whether you are a nonprofit, a school, or a for-profit entity, strategic plans will look at where you are and how you will get to where you want to go.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Nonprofit

For a nonprofit, the strategic plan’s purpose is mainly how to best advance the mission. It’s imperative to make sure the mission statement accurately fits the organization.

In addition to a SWOT analysis and other sections that go into any strategic plan, a nonprofit needs to keep an eye on changing factors, such as funding. Some funding sources have finite beginnings and endings. Strategic planning is often continuous for nonprofits.

A nonprofit has to make the community care about its cause. In a for-profit organization, the marketing department works to promote the company’s product or services to bring in new revenue. For a nonprofit, however, conveying that message needs to be part of the strategic plan.

Coming up with an evaluation method and KPIs can sometimes be difficult for a nonprofit, since they are often focused on goals other than financial gain. For example, a substance abuse prevention coalition is trying to keep teens from starting to drink or use drugs, and proving the coalition’s methods work is often difficult to quantify.

This template can help you visually outline your strategic plan for your nonprofit.

Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Download Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

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How to Write a Strategic Plan for a School

Writing a strategic plan for a school can be difficult because of the variety of stakeholders involved, including students, teachers, other staff, and parents.

Strategic planning in a school is different from others because there are no markets to explore, products to produce, clients to woo, or adjustable timelines. Schools often have set boundaries, missions, and budgets.

Even with the differences, the same planning process and structure should be in place for schools as it is for other types of organizations.

This template can help your university or school outline your strategic plan.

University Strategic Plan Outline Word Template

‌ ‌Download University Strategic Plan Outline – Word

How to Write a 5-Year Strategic Plan

There is no set time period for a strategic plan, but five years can be a sweet spot. In some cases, yearly planning might keep you continually stuck in the planning process, while 10 years might be too far out.

In addition to the basic sections that go into any strategic plan, when forecasting five years into the future, put one- and three-year checkpoints into the plan so you can track progress intermittently.

How to Write a 3-Year Strategic Plan

While five years is often the strategic planning sweet spot, some organizations choose to create three-year plans. Looking too far ahead can be daunting, especially for a new or changing company.

In a three-year plan, the goals and objectives have a shorter timeframe and you need to monitor them more frequently. Build those checkpoints into the plan.

“Most organizations do a three- to five-year plan now because they recognize the technology and the changes in business that are pretty dynamic now,” Stockmal says.

How to Write a Departmental Strategic Plan

The first step in writing a strategic plan for your department is to pay attention to your company’s overall strategic plan. You want to make sure the plans align.

The steps in creating a plan for a department are the same as for an overall strategic plan, but the mission statement, vision, SWOT analysis, goals, objectives, and so on are specific to only the people in your department. Look at each person separately and consider their core competencies, strengths, capabilities, and weaknesses. Assign people who will be responsible for certain tasks and tactics necessary to achieve your goals.

If you have access to a plan from a previous year, see how your department did in meeting its goals. Adjust the new plan accordingly.

When you finish your departmental plan, make sure to submit it to whomever is responsible for your company’s overall plan. Expect to make changes.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Project

A strategic plan is for the big picture, not for a particular project for an organization. Instead of a strategic plan, this area would fall under project management.

If you have a failing project and need to turn it around, this article might help.

How to Write a Personal Strategic Plan

Creating a strategic plan isn’t only for businesses. You can also create a strategic plan to help guide both your professional and personal life. The key is to include what is important to you. This process takes time and reflection.

Be prepared for what you discover about yourself. Because you will be looking at your strengths and weaknesses, you might see things you do not like. It is important to be honest with yourself. A SWOT analysis on yourself will give you some honest feedback if you let it.

Begin with looking at your life as it is now. Are you satisfied? What do you want to do more or less? What do you value most in your life? Go deeper than saying family, happiness, and health. This exercise will help you clarify your values.

Once you know what is important to you, come up with a personal mission statement that reflects the values you cherish. As it does within a business, this statement will help guide you in making future decisions. If something does not fit within your personal mission, you shouldn’t do it.

Using the information you discovered during your SWOT and mission statement process, come up with goals that align with your values. The goals can be broad, but don’t forget to include action items and timeframes to help you reach your goals.

As for the evaluation portion, identify how you will keep yourself accountable and on track. You might involve a person to remind you about your plan, calendar reminders, small rewards when you achieve a goal, or another method that works for you.

Below is additional advice for personal strategic plans:

There are things you can control and things you cannot. Keep your focus on what you can act on.

Look at the positive instead of what you will give up. For example, instead of focusing on losing weight, concentrate on being healthier.

Do not overcommit, and do not ignore the little details that help you reach your goals.

No matter what, do not dwell on setbacks and remember to celebrate successes.

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NIH Releases Strategic Plan for Research on Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2

Plan will advance understanding of herpes virology and accelerate development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies.

September 19, 2023

Two horizontal banners with text summarizing the title of the strategic plan and explaining NIH has four categories of research priorities. Below them are four boxes, each summarizing the research priority topic areas.

NIH’s approach to HSV research

In response to the persistent health challenges of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2, today the National Institutes of Health released the Strategic Plan for Herpes Simplex Virus Research . An NIH-wide HSV Working Group developed the plan, informed by feedback from more than 100 representatives of the research and advocacy communities and interested public stakeholders. The plan outlines an HSV research framework with four strategic priorities: improving fundamental knowledge of HSV biology, pathogenesis, and epidemiology; accelerating research to improve HSV diagnosis; improving strategies to treat HSV while seeking a curative therapeutic; and, advancing research to prevent HSV infection.

HSV-1 and HSV-2 are among the most common viral infections in the United States. HSV can cause recurring blisters or sores. In severe cases HSV may lead to life-threatening or long-term complications, typically in the central nervous system. There are no licensed preventive HSV vaccines, and there is no cure. Up to 80% of people between the ages of 14 and 49 years in the United States live with HSV-1, and more than 10% live with HSV-2. HSV symptoms are primarily managed with antivirals that can reduce their frequency and intensity, but those medications do not clear the infection. Asymptomatic HSV is extremely common, and people who are asymptomatic can still transmit HSV to others. HSV is a leading cause of viral encephalitis—brain inflammation from a viral infection—and infectious blindness worldwide. Neonatal herpes, if left untreated, is fatal in 60% of cases. 

The NIH HSV Working Group was established in October 2022 and consists of scientific and policy experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute on Mental Health, the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, and the National Eye Institute. This plan aligns with ongoing national efforts, including the Sexually Transmitted Infections National Strategic Plan , and reflects broad public input, including individual experiences with HSV care, as well as the mental health impact of HSV social stigma. NIH anticipates that this plan will serve as a foundation for research, public health and medical communities to collaboratively work to reduce the burden of HSV-1 and HSV-2. 

WHAT: NIH Strategic Plan for Herpes Simplex Virus Research 

WHO: Carolyn Deal, Ph.D., chief of the Enteric and Sexually Transmitted Infections Branch in NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, is available to comment on the significance and implementation of the plan.

Submit a Media Request

Contact the NIAID News & Science Writing Branch.

301-402-1663 [email protected] All Media Contacts

UW Law Library Strategic Planning and Assessment Report

The University of Wisconsin Law Library regularly engages in strategic planning and assessment to ensure consistency with our mission, realization of our goals, and alignment with the research and learning needs of our students and faculty.

Image of cover of UW Law Library Assessment Report, 2021-22

  • Expand our nationally recognized Law School scholarly impact and visibility program
  • Survey faculty about their research & instructional needs to inform our decision-making about library priorities & resource allocation
  • Review & refresh library spaces to enhance sense of belonging, utility, attractiveness, comfort, & safety

We are currently working toward fulfilling our  2023-25 Strategic Plan . Aligned with the UW Law School mission , we identified these four action areas on which to focus our efforts in 2023-25.

  • Educating Students
  • Climate & Culture
  • Research & Scholarly Support
  • Outreach & Public Engagement

The Law Library maintains an archive of prior strategic plans and assessment reports on our website.

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Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (TAI) for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care and health care research has stimulated discussion on the application of trustworthy principles for AI. This report summarizes 15 considerations and 14 opportunities for the implementation of HHS’s trustworthy AI principles in patient-centered outcomes research projects that incorporate AI technology.

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IDEAL strategic plan released

The plan, which was developed to share the institutional vision for IDEAL and to address concerns raised in the 2021 IDEAL Climate Survey, outlines next steps for creating transformative change in campus culture.

To announce the institutional vision for IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment) and to respond to the Stanford community’s concerns unearthed in the 2021 DEI Survey, the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community released the IDEAL strategic plan, which charts a path forward for this university-wide effort.

Read the full plan here .

The survey focused on the individual experiences of community members and included questions about inclusion and belonging, as well as questions about experiences with harassing and discriminatory behavior. Some of the findings included incidents of harmful interpersonal interactions; experiences of isolation and lack of voice; problematic university structures and power dynamics; and ineffective systems for reporting and responding to incidents.

“Since the inception of the IDEAL initiative in 2018, we’ve made progress in advancing an environment of equity, inclusion, and belonging. However, given the results of the survey, we clearly have more work to do, and this plan outlines the next steps,” said Provost Persis Drell.

“The IDEAL strategic plan was developed with an acknowledgment of the concerns raised in the 2021 climate survey and the pressing need to address them. I want to thank the many dedicated community members who worked in close collaboration for the past two years to formulate this thoughtful and responsive plan,” said Drell.

Four overarching goals were formulated through extensive input from the university community. They are:

  • Reinforce Stanford’s commitment to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible university environment while at all times upholding the fundamental principles of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and excellence.
  • Enhance the campus culture by facilitating an environment where members of the Stanford community have a voice, are actively engaged, and experience a sense of belonging while interacting with the university’s living, learning, working, and research environments.
  • Advance equity through policies, practices, and infrastructure that ensure all members of our community have full and equitable access to resources, rewards, and opportunities.
  • Increase diversity and representation across the enterprise. Identify gaps and use insights to broaden the diversity of students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff.

“The purpose of the plan is to serve as a “North Star” that will guide transformative change in our campus culture. By encouraging alignment and collaborative efforts across the university through IDEAL, we will advance initiatives that support these four institutional IDEAL goals,” said Patrick Dunkley, vice provost for institutional equity, access, and community. “Progress toward achieving these goals will move us closer to the campus culture we strive for where people are valued for being their authentic selves and are respected for their differences.”

Dunkley said that a secondary purpose of the plan is to remedy a lack of clarity about the IDEAL initiative by providing a clear-cut and comprehensive definition of IDEAL for the Stanford community.

The IDEAL Strategic Plan also marks the transition of IDEAL from a set of university-sponsored initiatives to an umbrella framework that will support university-wide work contributing to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Within this framework, the university will align efforts across multiple schools, units, and departments; scale successful practices; and promote a consistent message of inclusive excellence.

“The students, staff, and faculty on our campus have been an integral part of every step of the development of the strategic plan, and their continued engagement will be critical to our implementation efforts,” said Dunkley.

“Since the IDEAL initiative was launched in 2018, a tremendous amount of time, effort, and thoughtful consideration by a large number of people around the university has gone into the initiative and now this Strategic Plan report, and I am extremely grateful to have the benefit of that work to learn from and build upon,” said incoming Provost Jenny Martinez, who will assume her new role on Oct. 1.

“As we undergo a change of university leadership, it’s important to reaffirm the commitment from the top to the value of diversity. The university’s core missions of knowledge creation and education both depend on ensuring that a diverse set of voices are welcome and included in the conversation, that everyone on campus is treated with respect, and that we remove barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential,” said Martinez.

About the 2021 DEI Survey

In May 2021, Stanford administered the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey to students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff. Designed by Stanford’s Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support, the survey was based on a year-long process that included extensive community feedback and review of existing survey research. Nearly 15,000 students, postdocs, faculty, and staff took part in the survey.

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DHS Strategic Industry Conversation IX: Innovation, Research and Development Showcase

Strategic Industry Conversation IX: Innovation, Research, and Development Showcase October 30, 9:30AM, Washington DC, Department of Homeland Security Technology and Innovation Network (DHS-TIN) logo, DHS Seal

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hosting the DHS Strategic Industry Conversation (SIC) IX: Innovation, Research and Development (IRD) Showcase on Monday, October 30, 2023, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. from 9:30 AM - 5:45 PM. The DHS SIC IX: IRD Showcase, held under the umbrella of the DHS Technology and Innovation Network (DHS-TIN), will communicate the Department’s key IRD areas of interest, exchange ideas, and share cross-cutting trends with attendees to increase transparency and support informed IRD investments and leverage innovation to support Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) needs. Register for the SIC IX: IRD Showcase.

After the initial kickoff and leadership panels, the event will move into six breakout sessions centered around the six DHS mission areas and specific associated IRD challenges and needs. Presentations and discussions will feature DHS staff, including operational component representatives and applicable program managers/teams, to engage industry in specific sectors and identified mission areas with emerging and future impacts and activities. At the end of the event, DHS will present identified strategic priority research areas (SPRAs)—cross-cutting, enduring scientific efforts—which will provide a means for addressing priority needs across multiple HSE mission areas.

Please visit the registration page to secure your seat at the SIC IX-IRD Showcase. Visit our speaker information page to read their full bios.

About DHS -TIN

The Department of Homeland Security Technology and Innovation Network (DHS-TIN) will focus on consistent, targeted outreach and engagement related to Innovation, Research and Development (IRD) with all relevant stakeholders who support the homeland security enterprise (HSE) including industry, academia, interagency and international entities. DHS will promote resiliency among, and inform investment decisions of, DHS-TIN entities in IRD to support and sustain DHS mission critical functions and address evolving and emerging challenges to homeland security.

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Statewide IT Strategic Planning Underway

A message from Pam Haase, Deputy Director Strategic Initiatives

September 27, 2023 – This year, the California Department of Technology (CDT) will embark on developing the new Statewide IT Strategic Plan for California’s state government to replace i ts current plan, Vision 2023. This new three -year  strategic plan will be used to provide direction and influence technology leadership throughout state and local government. The plan will be developed in partnership with the State’s IT leadership community through internal and external focus groups and surveys.  

The first step will be to close out Vision 2023 by performing lessons learned and celebrating the State’s accomplishments. The project will then evolve the vision, mission, goals, and guiding principles for State government IT organizations resulting in a new IT strategy. Other project components include developing a communications strategy to drive adoption, a governance model based on operational knowledge and challenges facing government IT environments, and a performance management framework with tools and metrics to measure future outcomes. CDT has executed a contract for consulting services to assist in the effort.

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