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About NCATS

Divisions & Offices

NCATS has several divisions and offices with diverse staff who guide the Center’s translational research activities.

Office of the Director

The NCATS Office of the Director develops and provides leadership for the Center’s translational science programs, manages and directs executive level activities, and provides policy guidance and coordination for each of the Center’s components.

Division of Clinical Innovation

The Division of Clinical Innovation (DCI) plans, conducts and supports research across the clinical phases of the translational science spectrum. This division:

  • Plans, conducts and supports research to develop new methods and technologies to enhance clinical processes.
  • Plans, conducts and supports research to evaluate existing and developing approaches, technologies, and processes in the clinical spectrum.
  • Supports training programs relevant to clinical phases of translational science.
  • Allocates DCI resources to clinical and translational infrastructure and investigators.
  • Collaborates with other NIH Institutes and Centers and the scientists they support.
  • Consults with stakeholders, including patients, industry and regulators.

Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation

The Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation (DPI) plans, conducts and uses both internal and contract resources to advance collaborative research projects across the pre-clinical phases of the translational science spectrum. Specifically, this division:

  • Plans, conducts and collaborates on research to develop new methods and technologies to enhance pre-clinical processes.
  • Plans, conducts and collaborates on research to evaluate existing and developing approaches, technologies, and processes in the pre-clinical spectrum.
  • Supports training programs relevant to pre-clinical phases of translational science.
  • Allocates DPI resources to pre-clinical extramural and intramural investigators.
  • Collaborates with other NIH Institutes and Centers and the scientists they support.
  • Consults with stakeholders, including patients, industry and regulators.

Office of Administrative Management

The NCATS Office of Administrative Management directs the administrative and financial operations management of the Center. Specifically, it develops, administers and oversees the Center’s internal control processes, policy and procedures for administration, program management and information technology. It also oversees personnel management and workforce planning.

Office of Grants Management and Scientific Review

Staff in the Office of Grants Management and Scientific Review advise NCATS leadership on issues related to policy and procedures for extramural activities. Additionally, they oversee and direct scientific review and grants management activities at NCATS. The office also manages the operations of the NCATS Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board.

Office of Policy, Communications and Education

The effort to spur scientific, medical and technological innovations and understand their application to translational science must be met with equally innovative strategies for policy, communications and education. The NCATS Office of Policy, Communications and Education (OPCE) manages these three vital functions within one office that develops and communicates critical priorities for NCATS.

Policy Branch

The OPCE Policy Branch analyzes issues relevant to translational science, working with NCATS stakeholders to develop and implement effective science policies. Staff members address legislative and regulatory issues and activities that are relevant to the spectrum of translational research — including strategic planning, science policy briefings, and interactions with government, academic and private sectors. For example, the Policy Branch explores the use of the flexible research authority provided through NCATS’ Cures Acceleration Network. In addition, staff are responsible for NCATS’ program evaluation, and, in coordination with NIH colleagues, for providing reports and other information to Congress.

Communications Branch

The OPCE Communications Branch develops and disseminates clear, accurate information about NCATS’ programs, initiatives, policies, alliances and advances. Team members collaborate closely with NCATS leadership, scientists and other staff to generate strategic messages and materials that engage and inform the Center’s key target audiences, including other NIH Institutes and Centers, patient advocacy groups, other governmental agencies and industry. The branch directs and manages the design and content of the NCATS public website and related publications and oversees media relations, social media, video production, event promotions and general public relations.

Education Branch

NCATS’ goals for this new OPCE branch, which was approved in fall 2016, include leading efforts on a broad range of public education and community involvement issues relevant to translational science. The intent is for branch staff to collaborate Center-wide to develop and disseminate evidence-based tools and best practices to improve understanding of translational science and the translational science spectrum. In addition, this branch will be responsible for developing community engagement programs to further educate and involve a broader range of stakeholders in the NCATS mission and activities.

Office of Rare Diseases Research

The Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) guides and coordinates NIH-wide activities involving research for a broad array of rare diseases. Specific duties include:

  • Develops and maintains a centralized database on rare diseases.
  • Coordinates and provides liaison with organizations worldwide concerned with rare diseases research and orphan products development.
  • Advises the Office of the Director on matters related to NIH-sponsored research involving rare diseases.
  • Responds to information and policy requests about rare diseases.

The Office of Rare Diseases Research oversees NCATS programs, including:

Office of Strategic Alliances

The Office of Strategic Alliances establishes and advances public-private partnerships that will speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients. Working in concert with nonprofit and private sectors, staff members develop innovative approaches, policies and methods to reduce, remove or bypass bottlenecks in translational science collaborations. Staff members also study why barriers to collaboration exist and what new models can help overcome them, analyzing successful academic and industry partnerships to help determine whether NCATS can adopt those models. In addition, the office is responsible for coordinating small business research programs.

Last updated: 11-14-2017
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