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Harvard receives transforming NIH award

Harvard Medical School has been awarded the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. The funding will be used to launch a Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) that will transform patient-oriented research and facilitate collaborations across the Harvard schools and affiliated hospitals and universities. Harvard will receive $23.5 million per year during this five-year award period, and Lee Nadler, MD (DFCI) and Stephen Freedman, MD, PhD (BIDMC) will direct the new center.

This funding is critical to Harvard and its affiliated hospitals. With the CTSA, Harvard will also be eligible for a new group of NIH Roadmap grants.

The CTSC will focus on building a University-wide infrastructure to support clinical and translational research and help create methods to connect and support investigators and cross-disciplinary teams of investigators. Harvard CTSC initiatives include a new Internet Portal called CONNECTS that will help to navigate Harvard resources and include a “matchmaking” service that will allow researchers to find one another. The portal will also house SHRINE (Shared Health Resource Network), a database that pools information on research subjects across hospitals, giving scientists the ability to instantly analyze data from large populations.

In addition to the portal, CTSC leadership is identifying and recruiting several specialized Harvard scientists to serve as “navigators.” These investigators will act as matchmakers and consultants, helping other investigators find resources and collaborators for their translational research endeavors.

The CTSC will also distribute approximately $8 million per year in pilot grants for early and translational studies, focusing on junior investigations who want to work across disciplines or institutions. In line with the overall goal of the CTSC, grantees will also receive support in managing these complex awarded projects.