A proposal to create a new translational research center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is causing angst across the agency and beyond. As part of the plan under discussion, NIH reportedly wants to dissolve its National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). And that is raising concern about the fate of NCRR's programs.
The proposed new center would take over NCRR's Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) as one of its components. These large grants to medical centers total $458 million a year, about one-third of NCRR's $1.3 billion budget. Transferring CTSAs to a research center makes sense, some observers say, but leaves the question of what would happen to the rest of NCRR's portfolio? It includes a range of programs, from construction and instrumentation awards, to support for NIH's primate centers and research-development grants for states that don't have much NIH funding.