The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is soliciting suggestions from the public on research projects and other activities it should pursue, to help further knowledge of how the environment influences health.

"We are looking for visionary ideas to help define the institute's future directions, research goals, and resource priorities," said NIEHS Deputy Director Richard Woychik, Ph.D., who is leading the strategic planning effort. The NIEHS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Ideas can be submitted online at www.strategicplan.niehs.nih.gov . All submitted ideas will be posted to the website, and anyone can comment on the ideas or give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating. The site also integrates with Facebook and Twitter. Submissions will be accepted through April 30, 2011.

Additionally, NIEHS is seeking nominations for a stakeholder community workshop in mid-July in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

“You can nominate yourself, a colleague or anyone who is passionate about research on our environment, and improving public health and preventing disease,” according to the institute. Nominations can be made at www.niehs.nih.gov. "This is an opportunity for everyone who cares about environmental health to have a voice in shaping the direction of our research," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., NIEHS and National Toxicology Program director.

To comment on or review throughout the 15-month strategic planning process, visit www.niehs.nih.gov/strategicplan/.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.