Research: Focus on Translational and Outcomes Science

While we do not know exactly how much federal funding will be allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in FY 2013, we know that we are not likely to see increased funding.  President Obama submitted a budget request that included $30.6 billion, which is essentially the same amount as in FY 2012.[1]  We also know that federal funding for research falls into the federal budget’s “discretionary budget” category, which is slated for 7.8 percent annual reductions starting in 2013, as part of the debt deal agreed to in July 2011.  Between the President’s proposed budget and legislation affecting 2013 and beyond, we can anticipate that competition for research funding will only increase.

A more competitive environment requires even more focus for success.  ECG believes that there is reason to focus on translational and outcomes science.  We base this belief on the following observations:

  • If NIH funding is a measure of success in research, translational science will continue to be important.  Of the top 25 NIH-funded institutions, all but 3 (or 88 percent) are part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) collaborative.
  • Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is becoming more organized with the launch of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which was established as part of Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislation.
  • Funding reductions put a greater emphasis on improving the effectiveness of research, especially in terms of decreasing the time and resources required to develop clinical applications.  Implementation science can improve research operations and streamline processes.
  • Personalized medicine is becoming a strategic priority for more institutions.  Personalized medicine assumes that the infrastructure required for translational science is readily applied to develop clinical applications as we learn more about treatment effectiveness based on genetic profiles of diseases and other contributors.

The following are major areas of focus for research (size relative to importance):

Major areas of focus for research (size relative to importance).

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