As a result of the NIH investment in biomedical research, over the past 30 years we have seen many great advances impacting the health of our nation which have been fostered by the effective translation of scientific advances. However, rising costs for both research and health care mean that the NIH must make strategic decisions that maximize the return on its investment. Because treating end-stage disease is so costly, both personally and financially, learning how to pre-empt illness through molecular knowledge and behavioral interventions is the only viable strategy for maintaining the nation's health in the coming years.
In order to speed scientific discovery and its efficient translation to patient care, the NIH developed the Roadmap for Biomedical Research. The Roadmap provides an incubator space for funding innovative programs to address a panoply of scientific challenges and has engendered a new culture of cooperation among researchers seeking new avenues for collaboration. An important feature of the Roadmap is the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA). The program's goals are to eliminate growing barriers between clinical and basic research, to address the increasing complexities involved in conducting clinical research, and to help institutions nationwide create an academic home for clinical and translational science.
By adopting a strong strategic vision now, the NIH will be able to stand at the ready as future challenges and opportunities emerge. In keeping with our mission, the NIH's current and future actions will be defined by the requirements of the scientific community and the public health needs of the nation.