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Office of Research & Development

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About the Office of Research & Development

For more than 90 years, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Research and Development program has been improving the lives of Veterans and all Americans through health care discovery and innovation.

Dr. Mingxiong Huang prepares to do a MEG brain scan on a “healthy control” who has participated in his neuroimaging research. (Photo by Kevin Walsh)

Dr. Mingxiong Huang prepares to do a MEG brain scan on a “healthy control” who has participated in his neuroimaging research. (Photo by Kevin Walsh)

The mission of VA Research is fourfold:

  • to improve Veterans' health and well-being via basic, translational, clinical, health services, and rehabilitative research;
  • to apply scientific knowledge to develop effective individualized care solutions for Veterans;
  • to attract, train, and retain the highest-caliber investigators, and nurture their development as leaders in their fields; and
  • to assure a culture of professionalism, collaboration, accountability, and the highest regard for research volunteers' safety and privacy.

VA Research is unique because of its focus on health issues that affect Veterans. It is part of an integrated health care system with a state-of-the-art electronic health record and has come to be viewed as a model for superior bench-to-bedside research.

Today, VA Research has three overarching strategic priorities: increasing Veterans' access to high-quality clinical trials; increasing the real-world impact of VA research; and putting VA data to work for Veterans.

The research process in VA starts with a tight focus on the everyday health needs and concerns of Veterans, and with consultation with national and regional VA clinical leaders. Solutions are identified and developed through careful, rigorous research in labs and clinics, and sometimes in the community. These solutions are then applied to patient care, or translated into new or improved programs, as rapidly as possible. Veterans themselves play an integral role in the VA research program. Thousands of VA patients volunteer each year to participate in VA research studies, both to address their own health challenges and to help their fellow Veterans, now and in the future.

The groundbreaking achievements of VA investigators—more than 60 percent of whom also provide direct patient care—have resulted in three Nobel prizes, seven Lasker awards, and numerous other national and international honors.

VA Research fosters dynamic collaborations with its university partners, other federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private industry—thus furthering the program's impact on the health of Veterans and the nation.

The Office of Research and Development consists of four research services that together form a cohesive whole to explore all phases of Veterans' health care needs. Each service oversees a number of research centers of excellence.

Each of these four services is headed by a director who is supervised by the Chief Research and Development Officer (CRADO), who in turn reports to the Deputy Under Secretary for the Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks (10X). An organizational chart is provided below.

Organizational Chart

VA Office of R&D Org Chart Rehabilitation Research & Development Service Health Services Research & Development Service Clinical Science Research & Development Service Biomedical Laboratory Research & Development Service Chief Research and Development Officer (CRADO) Cooperative Studies Program


VA Research by the Numbers (for fiscal 2019)

Active research sites nationwide


Active funded principal investigators


Active funded research projects (including VA funding and other sources)


Total congressional appropriation for VA medical and prosthetic research


Total research budget (including other VA and non-VA sources, such as NIH)


Published research articles authored or co-authored by VA investigators


Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.