February 2011

NIH to create translational research center

As for funding, the budget for NCATS is expected to be 1 percent to 2 percent of the overall NIH budget, which approximates the amount currently set aside through the NIH Common Fund for the translational research-focused NIH Roadmap. NCATS will house several Roadmap programs, including the Molecular Libraries program and the program for Rapid Access for Interventional Development, as well as the Cures Acceleration Network, a new program authorized (though not yet appropriated) by Congress to speed the development of disease cures.

Shifting funds to NCATS will require adjustment of additional budgets, including those at other institutes and centers; it is unclear if the NCATS programs, including CTSA, will retain their current budgets.

The best-laid plans …

Congress has been notified of the recommendation and has 180 days to object; otherwise, the new center will be approved. Although the new center currently lacks a director, plans continue to move forward as the NIH once again makes itself over to fulfill its mission.

Geoffrey Hunt (ghunt@asbmb.org) is the ASBMB science policy fellow.

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