The NIH is seeking comments on its new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Of course, some of the accompanying FAQs are a bit leading (e.g., Why is now the time to establish such a Center?).
The Center, recommended by the SMRB within a month of the Nov 10th TMAT Working Group presentation on how to advance translational research and therapeutics development, is projected to be online by October 1, 2011 with a budget (based on an initial estimate of $650M) exceeding that of NIAMS, NHGRI, NIAAA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NLM, NIBIB, NCMHD, NINR, NCCAM, and FIC.
The solicitation of comments suggests input is being sought on both the Center and the future of NCRR, though with regard to the latter, Collins has showed his cards in an interview with Nature:
What happens to the rest of the NCRR’s programmes?
Again, the strong assurance is that these programmes are valued, that they will be supported, that the people involved in them are doing great work. There is no intention here to dismantle them. But if there are opportunities to reorganize and reassign these programmes in ways that make them more interactive with what we are trying to do in this new centre, well, that seems like a good thing to consider.
Hopefully the NIH will take more than a month to consider this course of action.