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Divisions and Offices

Our divisions and offices drive the center’s innovative and collaborative activities.

Our Divisions and Offices


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We have 11 divisions and offices whose work spans the spectrum of translational science. Together, they identify and devise plans for new opportunities, build tools and technologies, support research here and beyond, train scientists, and so much more.

Office of the Director

The 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 to evaluate and enhance clinical processes. DCI oversees the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, which includes a variety of projects and initiatives, and it partners on the NCATS National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C). In addition, DCI supports training programs relevant to clinical phases of translational science, and it allocates resources to clinical and translational infrastructure and investigators.

  • The Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program Branch manages and coordinates the CTSA Program. This includes planning, conducting and supporting the CTSA Education and Training Program; planning and coordinating the development of strategic initiatives related to the CTSA Program; and planning and coordinating the development of funding initiatives for the CTSA Program.
  • The Clinical Affairs Branch provides a national resource for rapid response to public health emergencies; promotes the identification, development and dissemination of innovative clinical trial and recruitment designs; promotes clinical research quality standards; and provides policy, oversight and guidance for human subject research protection.
  • The Office of Program Evaluation, Analysis and Reporting plans, conducts and supports evaluation, analysis and reporting for DCI; coordinates, provides and supports communications for the DCI; and liaises with offices within NCATS and across NIH to accomplish synergistic goals.

Division of Extramural Activities

The Division of Extramural Activities advises NCATS leadership on issues related to policy and procedures for extramural activities. It works closely with other parts of NIH to develop, coordinate and implement new extramural policies for research grants and contracts. Its Office of the Director manages the membership and operations of the NCATS Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board, and it oversees and coordinates prize competitions and all aspects of initiative management. It also coordinates the receipt and referral of grant/advisory/council applications, among other activities.

  • The Grants Management Branch provides oversight and direction for grants management and other transactions activities.
  • The Scientific Review Branch provides oversight and direction for the scientific review of grant and cooperative agreement applications, research and development contract proposals, and applications submitted for objective review under Emergency or Other Transactions authorities.

Division of Preclinical Innovation

The Division of Preclinical Innovation (DPI) plans and conducts collaborative research projects across the preclinical phases of the translational science spectrum. DPI develops new methods and technologies, such as 3-D tissue bioprinting, to enhance preclinical processes. It helps move new treatments through the later stages of drug development using such initiatives as Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases. Its platforms, which include the OpenData Portal and the NCATS Pharmaceutical Collection, speed research at NIH and in the wider biomedical community. In addition, DPI supports training programs onsite and through such efforts as the Assay Guidance Manual. DPI allocates resources to extramural and intramural preclinical investigators.

  • The Early Translation Branch aims to uncover new small-molecule probes for disease targets and advance the process of therapeutic development through a collaborative research model. Its teams have expertise in assay biology, high-throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, cheminformatics and data science to complement the disease-area expertise of external collaborators.
  • The Chemical Genomics Branch explores new technological and operational paradigms, ranging from new strategies for drug discovery and testing to improving the use of stem cells in research.
  • The Therapeutic Development Branch helps close the gap between basic research and preclinical testing of new small-molecule and biologic drugs, as well as cell-based and gene therapies. Work spans the entire preclinical development pipeline, including medicinal chemistry, toxicology, formulation, and other studies required to support an Investigational New Drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Division of Rare Diseases Research Innovation

The Division of Rare Diseases Research Innovation (DRDRI) facilitates and coordinates many of our rare disease programs, as well as NIH-wide activities involving rare diseases research. Major efforts include the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network and gene-targeted therapy development efforts, such as the Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium and Platform Vector Gene Therapy Pilot Project. DRDRI also develops and manages rare disease information resources for patients and patient advocacy organizations.

  • The Advanced Therapeutics and Research Branch supports novel and innovative research efforts related to innovation in clinical trial design of treatments and therapies for rare disease patients. It also supports novel and innovative research efforts related to innovation in clinical trials of gene-targeted therapies. 
  • The Collaborative Research, Informatics and Special Programs Branch coordinates NIH-wide activities involving research into combating and treating the broad array of rare diseases and maintains a centralized informational database on rare diseases. It also collaborates within and outside NCATS in assessing the burden of rare diseases on the healthcare system.

Office of Administrative Management

The Office of Administrative Management directs the administrative, information technology and financial operations management of the center. It also oversees personnel management and workforce planning.

  • The Executive Office provides leadership and direction for various NCATS administrative management activities, including program management, acquisitions, space and facilities.
  • The Administrative Services Branch plans, directs, coordinates and provides comprehensive administrative and management support for our divisions and offices.
  • The Ethics and Management Analysis Branch administers the center’s ethics program and implements a variety of administrative policies and procedures related to workforce management and planning.
  • The Financial Management Branch advises and supports the center on all facets of the budget, including managing budget development activities ranging and preparing various documents, reports and publications provided to Congress.
  • The Information Technology Resources Branch ensures that our infrastructure, tools and applications fully and comprehensively support the center’s mission, and it collaborates in enterprise-wide NIH IT initiatives to improve management oversight, accounting procedures for services, risk management, performance and communications.

Office of Drug Development Partnership Programs

The Office of Drug Development Partnership Programs (ODDPP) promotes innovations that improve the efficiency of drug development, from target identification — including expanding the target landscape — through early-stage clinical trials. Programs administered by ODDPP, such as the Biomedical Data Translator, often involve partnerships with the private sector, other parts of NIH or the U.S. government, and NCATS’ own intramural scientists. ODDPP also works with national and international stakeholders, providing leadership for the national response to public health emergencies.

Office of Policy, Communications and Education

The Office of Policy, Communications and Education develops and communicates critical priorities for NCATS in a highly collaborative manner.

  • The Policy Branch analyzes scientific and legislative issues relevant to translational science, works with NCATS stakeholders to develop and implement science policies, and addresses center-wide planning and strategic activities that are relevant to the spectrum of translational research.
  • The Communications Branch develops and disseminates content that informs and engages a variety of audiences on NCATS programs, activities and impact.
  • The Education Branch collaborates across the center to develop and share evidence-based tools and best practices to improve the understanding of translational science, the skills necessary to become a translational scientist, and the translational science spectrum.

Office of Special Initiatives

The Office of Special Initiatives (OSI) addresses translational problems with innovative solutions through the development and implementation of disruptive technologies using interdisciplinary approaches and novel public-private partnerships. Key examples include the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program and A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration (ASPIRE). The programs and initiatives within OSI are intended to be catalytic and transformative, resulting in a paradigm shift in the field. OSI also takes the lead on a number of NIH Common Fund programs, including the Extracellular RNA Communication program.

Office of Strategic Alliances

The Office of Strategic Alliances (OSA) establishes and advances public-private partnerships and develops innovative approaches, policies and methods to reduce, remove or bypass bottlenecks in translational science collaborations. OSA also oversees our small business programs and licensing opportunities.

Office of Translational Medicine

The Office of Translational Medicine (OTM) uses expertise across clinical and other relevant disciplines to amplify NCATS’ ability to foster innovative translational science and improve health. OTM interprets and implements research-related policies, convenes stakeholders, and, in certain circumstances, arbitrates or makes decisions. Topics of interest include human subjects; diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; regulation and drug development; clinical research, including clinical trials and clinical epidemiology; and ethics, for which OTM operates a grant program.

Last updated on June 17, 2024