Frequently Asked Questions


Why is NIDCR launching this visioning initiative now?

As we began to think about and prepare for our upcoming strategic plan, we wanted to think beyond a five-year increment—to plan for the long-term future. We also wanted to break away from a top-down and isolated approach of thinking about our future, and saw this as an opportunity to engage stakeholders in shaping and prioritizing the future of dental, oral, and craniofacial research. Perspectives of all stakeholders are important for driving and shaping research and, in particular, identifying the greatest needs, gaps, and areas of opportunity.


Why is NIDCR using an interactive web-based tool?

IdeaScale offers a platform to reach more constituents and allow for multiple levels of participation and engagement. In addition to facilitating the submission of your own ideas, this web-based tool allows users to view other ideas and contribute by voting and commenting.


How were the five goal areas selected?

The five goals for NIDCR 2030 were developed based on input from NIDCR staff and the NIDCR Advisory Council. These goals, which are all equally important to the Institute, were intentionally left broad so as not to prioritize any particular disease over another, but rather to focus on research areas and tools that could be broadly applied to a range of diseases and conditions, and to include a focus on disease prevention and health promotion.


How will my ideas be reviewed?

Idea submissions and comments will be reviewed by subject matter experts, including intramural and extramural NIDCR staff, based on five criteria:

  • Innovation
  • Impact on science, health, and health disparities
  • Alignment with NIDCR mission
  • Feasibility
  • Number of votes

The first four criteria will take precedence over the number of votes. As part of the review phase, idea submissions may be moved to different goal areas. Ideas will not be selected individually, but rather reviewed and considered, along with other idea submissions and comments, to collectively guide future research and funding opportunities.


What will NIDCR do with my ideas, votes, and comments?

Idea submissions, comments, and votes will be used to advance the goals of NIDCR 2030 and identify themes for potential funding opportunities. No financial rewards will be given for idea submissions. Yet, this platform provides an opportunity for the community to help guide and shape future research priorities for NIDCR.

Note that NIDCR will not use ideas, votes, or comments to preferentially fund specific disease research or to prioritize any particular disease over another.


How can I track the status of my idea submission(s)?

As indicated in the right-hand panel of the NIDCR 2030 website, under “Goal Funnel,” idea submissions go through four stages: 1) idea sharing, 2) review, 3) workshops, and 4) communication. Details about what is involved in each stage can be viewed by hovering your mouse over each stage on the website. The system will automatically send you email notifications when the stage of your idea submission changes.


Can I submit ideas anonymously?

Yes, individuals who would prefer not to have their name appear on the site may submit ideas anonymously—this option is available in the idea submission form and author names will show up as “Community Member.”

Although we encourage idea submission via IdeaScale, we can also accept private submissions via the NIDCR 2030 email box, if necessary: Ideas received in this email box will be reviewed and considered, along with web-based submissions, to help guide future research funding opportunities.


How will I know if my idea(s) has been selected?

This initiative will not result in a single “winner”. Ideas will not be selected individually, but rather reviewed and considered, along with other idea submissions and comments, to collectively guide future research and funding opportunities.

The NIDCR 2030 website will remain publicly accessible after the closing date for idea submissions and be used to facilitate ongoing dialogue about the status of the strategic visioning initiative at large, and efforts to reach the NIDCR 2030 goals. Check back frequently for updates. Announcements will also be made on the NIDCR home page:  


Where should I direct patients or other members requesting information about dental, oral, or craniofacial health?

The NIDCR 2030 website was not designed for inquiries regarding dental or related health care or services. Individuals requesting information about dental, oral, or craniofacial health should contact NIDCR’s National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse at or 1-866-232-4528.


Glossary of Terms

  • Autotherapies: Forms of treatment that take advantage of the body’s ability to heal itself.
  • Biodevices/ Biosensors: A device that uses technologies to detect and monitor physiological processes in the human body or to deliver agents such therapeutics.
  • Precision Health: An emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention, as well as public health interventions, that accounts for individual and population-wide variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle.
  • Systemic: Affecting or supporting health throughout the body, as opposed to a limited area or region of the body.