21st Century Medical Research
Clinical and Translational Science Award Grant Application Will Keep Children’s, University of Colorado Denver and Our Affiliates at the Forefront of Pediatric Research
Ronald Sokol, MD
Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center
Chief, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Vice Chair of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver
Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, Children's Hospital Colorado and other affiliated institutions recently submitted a grant application for the National Institutes of Health’s new Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant.
The Clinical and Translational Science Award is a new and highly competitive program launched in 2006 as part of the NIH “roadmap” for medical research in the 21st century. Its vision is to transform clinical and translational research and training at academic health centers. The program will promote, facilitate and develop new areas, infrastructure and opportunities for clinical and translational research, collaboration and training. It will create an “academic home” for clinical and translational research at academic health centers.
The CTSA will replace the current Pediatric Clinical Translational Research Center (PCTRC) program and several other NIH-funded programs for training and career development in clinical and translational sciences. The CTSA places emphasis on “bridging” basic sciences and biotechnology to clinical sciences. Translational research in the CTSA encompasses not only bench-to-bedside research, but also translation of discoveries into primary care and specialty medical practice. Additionally, the program emphasizes synergistic partnerships between the academic community, industry, foundations, community physicians and the public.
The new awards system seeks to build new opportunities for community engagement in the clinical research enterprise. The vision is the creation of a new infrastructure that encourages creative, innovative approaches in solving complex medical problems, that speeds the implementation of discoveries that improve patient care and expands training opportunities for the next generation of clinical and translational investigators.
CTSA Grants are Awarded on the Following Criteria:
- The identification of an “academic home” within a domestic institution, university, academic health center, or other organization conducting clinical and translational research
- An associated graduate school accredited to award higher degrees in clinical research
- Established partnerships with independent research institutions
- A single cross-institutional application process
- Evidence of significant institutional commitment
First-round awards, announced October 3, 2006, included 12 academic health centers nationwide (see map). These centers have become part of the NIH CTSA consortium, a new network for medical research that will be afforded special opportunities for NIH research funding. The NIH also awarded 52 planning grants to support the preparation of applications to join the consortium, the University of Colorado Denver was a successful applicant for a planning grant.
In the second grant cycle, completed earlier this year, the NIH awarded 12 new CTSA grants. UC Denver submitted an application during the third grant cycle in November 2007. UC Denver devoted substantial institutional resources to the development of the grant application on behalf of the University and its affiliated institutions.
The Future of Research Funding
The General Clinical Research Center program, which is a channel for NIH research funding, will be phased out by 2011. Both the adult GCRC, the pediatric CTRC associated with the University and the K30 graduate clinical research curriculum program will be incorporated into the CTSA when funded. By 2012, the NIH will award a total of 60 CTSA grants.
The UC Denver application is institutional-wide and includes the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy; the new School of Public Health; the Graduate School at UC Denver; the University of Colorado Boulder; the University of Colorado Denver; and the affiliated hospitals—University of Colorado Hospital, Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, Veterans Affairs Hospital and Kaiser Permanente. When funded, the CTSA will be initiated as a new campus-wide institute, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CCTSI).
Dr. Ronald J. Sokol was appointed CCTSI Director and Principal Investigator of the grant application. He and five co-directors oversaw the 11 working groups involved in the grant application. Dr. Robert Eckel led efforts for the Discovery Translation section. Dr. Andrew Kramer led Community Translation efforts. Novel Methods and Biotechnology was overseen by Dr. Mark Geraci. Child and Maternal Health Research was led by Dr. William Hay, Jr. Dr. John Steiner oversaw Research Training, Education and Career Development. The 11 working groups under the leadership of the CTSA director and the five co-directors were composed of individuals with expertise and perspective from across the participating schools and affiliated institutions.
The awarding of a CTSA grant is an important and essential opportunity for the future of clinical and translational research on the University of Colorado campuses and within its affiliated institutions, and for the training and career development of future teams of investigators. The University of Colorado Denver CTSA application will be reviewed in February 2008 and awards will be announced in May 2008.
For More Information
For more information about this program, contact the pediatric Clinical and Translational Research Center at (720) 777-2957 or go to the National Institutes of Health website.