On Dec. 23, President Obama signed into law the FY12 omnibus appropriations bill that officially established the new National Institutes of Health center, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. NCATS will replace the National Center for Research Resources, and the NIH already has begun to put in motion plans to redistribute several programs originally housed in the NCCR. The first steps in the reorganization process were announced Wednesday with the establishment of two new divisions at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. These new divisions will each administer programs from both NIGMS and NCRR.
The new Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity merges NIGMS research training programs with activities that were previously in the institute’s Division of Minority Opportunities in Research. The division also will house the Institutional Development Award program from NCRR. It will be led by former MORE director Clifton Poodry.
The new Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology administers research and research training in areas that join biology with the computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and physics. It includes programs from the former NIGMS Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology along with NCRR biomedical technology programs. Former CBCB director Karin Remington will lead the division.
NIH leadership appear pleased with the new divisions, with NIGMS acting director Judith Greenberg stating, “This reorganization will synergize and strengthen our activities in several critical mission areas.”
The announcement also says that the reorganization will have no effect on the funding levels for the programs from NIGMS or NCRR. Additionally, most grants in the new divisions will continue to be managed by the same staff members.