NIH Translational Science Center Officially Established
In the fiscal year (FY) 2012 spending bill, Congress specified appropriations for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), thereby providing official approval for the Center to be established. The formation of NCATS comes after several months of uncertainty regarding the status of funding for the proposed Center. The $576.5 million allocation to NCATS was included in the $30.64 billion FY 2012 appropriation to NIH—a $240 million (approximately 0.8 percent) increase over the FY 2011 NIH budget.
NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD has touted NCATS as having the potential to revolutionize translational science and overcome the challenges of developing new drug treatments. The Center will be the new home of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), which were formerly a large part of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). With the departure of this major program, NCRR will be dismantled and its other programs will be distributed among existing NIH Institutes and Centers. The CTSAs will remain a significant program under NCATS, with a congressionally mandated budget floor of $487.8 million (to be drawn from all funding available throughout NIH). More information regarding the redistribution of NCRR programs can be found at: http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/.
While the search for an NCATS director is underway, the Center will be led by Acting Director Thomas Insel, the current director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Acting Deputy Director Kathy Hudson, NIH's deputy director for science, outreach, and policy.