NIH has announced the establishment of a new center, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which will focus on supporting identifying and overcoming barriers that slow the development of effective medical treatments and cures. At the same time, the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) was dissolved.
The NCRR’s funding programs will be transferred to a number of different organizations within NIH, with both the Clinical and Translational Science Awards and NCRR’s Small Business (SBIR/STTR) Grants becoming the responsibility of NCATS. The new center will also lead a new partnership between NIH and DARPA. NIH has posted a notice NOT-OD-12-026 that discusses plans for transitions of current applicants and awards.
The budget for NCATS, approximately $575 million, is primarily comprised of funds reallocated from other existing programs, not additional appropriations to NIH. NCATS will administer a number of programs that are focused on developing new treatments and cures of rare diseases, as well as the interagency partnership FDA-NIH Regulatory Science. The goal of NCATS is to reduce the time it currently requires to bring new treatments into practice from scientific discoveries. The full announcement can be viewed here: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2011/od-23.htm.