The NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is the nation's largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research. Surrounded by the NIH’s intramural research laboratories, the Clinical Center makes it possible to rapidly translate scientific observations and discoveries into new approaches for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. Now, this unique national resource is being made more accessible to researchers in the extramural community.
In 2007, the NIH Reform Act established the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB). This group of scientists and leaders from the NIH, academia and industry were provided with certain organizational authorities, including the identification of ways to optimize the opportunities available within the NIH intramural research program. As a member of the NIH’s intramural community for almost 40 years, I am honored to serve on the SMRB and on the working group tasked with this analysis.
Focusing on the Clinical Center, the SMRB issued a report in 2010 noting that “the role of the NIH Clinical Center should be to serve as a state-of-the-art national resource, with resources optimally managed to enable both internal and external investigator use.”
In response to the SMRB report, the NIH issued a Notice of Intent to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications from teams of extramural investigators and intramural NIH investigators to conduct collaborative research projects that are aligned with NIH efforts to enhance the translation of basic biological discoveries into clinical applications that improve health.
To support collaborations with extramural researchers, the NIH Clinical Center has created a new website that contains a catalogue of resources that may be of interest to external investigators. NIH is working diligently to make these resources and opportunities for collaboration available and to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place for successful partnerships.
The NIAMS is very enthusiastic in its support of this FOA, and I would encourage you to consider this opportunity to leverage the special resources provided by the Clinical Center. Building collaborative teams of scientists across our intramural and extramural communities to facilitate bench-to-bedside research is one more step towards our shared goal of turning discovery into health.