On Tuesday, August 16, Dr. Barbara Alving announced her resignation as the director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) effective October 1, 2011. Dr. Alving has served at NCRR since 2005, first as the acting director before being named director in 2007.
One of Alving’s signature accomplishments was the development of the Clinical and Translation Science Awards (CTSA) program. Now in its sixth year, the CTSA program has provided funding to over 60 institutions focusing on clinical and translational research.
Dr. Alving’s resignation is slated to coincide with the proposed dissolution of NCRR, making way for the proposed National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS). The CTSA program will represent the core of the NCATS, while NCRR’s other programs will be dispersed to existing NIH institutes, as well as an “interim infrastructure unit” within the NIH director’s office. However, the future of these programs remains unsettled, as the NIH has failed to provide a FY12 budget request for NCATS to Congress. Furthermore, the creation of NCATS has been met with controversy within the basic research scientific community, specifically concerning whether NIH should focus so heavily on translational research.