Give Input on Proposed Center for Research Capacity Building


At our recent Advisory Council meeting, I announced that we are proposing the establishment of a new organizational unit in NIGMS: the Center for Research Capacity Building (CRCB). As the name implies, it would serve as the hub for our capacity-building programs, which include the Institutional Development Award (IDeA), Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) and Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH). These programs are now housed in a branch of our Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity.

Among the factors that contributed to this plan are the complexity of our capacity-building programs and the broad range of scientific areas and grant mechanisms they support. We believe that the new organizational structure would allow for more efficient planning, coordination and execution among these programs’ research, research training and research resource access activities.

The head of the new center would report directly to me and be part of the Institute’s senior leadership. Beyond that change, we do not plan to alter the missions, goals, staff or budgets of the IDeA, SCORE and NARCH programs as a result of the reorganization. Also remaining the same would be the review of applications and most grants management and review staff assignments.

We invite your input to inform our planning. Please post your comments by February 18, 2015.

Update: Thank you for your valuable input on this organizational change. A post announcing the establishment of the center is at

27 Replies to “Give Input on Proposed Center for Research Capacity Building”

  1. The proposed NIGMS-CRCB makes sense. Hopefully, this new center-type format will provide a more cohesive vision and allow these programs to inform, and be informed by, the mainstream research agendas of the NIH Institutes/Centers.

  2. This is a great idea, and gives these programs the stature they rightly deserve.
    You couldn’t have made a better choice than Dr. Taylor to head up the Center.

  3. The new Center will make it easier for the capacity building programs of NIGMS to support each others’ efforts and for the validity of these programs to be clarified through NIGMS. I strongly support this effort. Thanks for the plan to elevate the status of these capacity building programs.

  4. I commend the NIGMS leadership for developing the proposed Center for Research Capacity Building (CRCB), which will be better poised to address the unique needs and to highlight the myriad accomplishments of the IDeA community. It is gratifying that the overall operational structure will remain unchanged.

  5. Good sounding idea (no pun intended). IDeA is more about research capacity than “Work Force Development” so I would anticipate enhanced synergy. TWD can still interact and vice versa……..

    Good Luck!


  6. This is an excellent plan. As a COBRE P.I., I am particularly interested in the IDeA program, and I think this new Center will give IDeA and the other programs greater visibility and possibly more resources. Having a “home” in a center also suggests to me that NIGMS values these programs, and that is a message that will encourage recipients and applicants to these programs.

  7. This is an excellent vision that combines a variety of related efforts with a similar focus. It is clear that NIGMS is taking this capacity building mandate seriously and has an effective strategy in this regard.

  8. I fully support the creation of a Center for Research Capacity Building. Having a direct voice with the NIGMS leadership is a welcome innovation.

  9. This is an excellent, unifying idea for the capacity building programs involved. Rather than each hanging out there on their own, the programs are now organized into an identifiable unit that encompasses the different ways that NIGMS supports capacity building.

  10. The Center for Research Capacity Building is an excellent addition to NIGMS. Thank you for the opportunities this will give IDeA, SCORE, and NARCH to thrive.

  11. The proposed organizational changes have a strong rationale and will help focus NIGMS activities that support diversity and IDeA states.

  12. I fully support your plan to develop the new Center for Research Capacity Building. As a past COBRE-funded investigator, and present PI of a COBRE grant, I have personal experience on the importance of IDeA, SCORE and NARCH grants to states like ours. They provide tremendous opportunities for our faculty and it is wonderful to know that NIGMS supports capacity-building and has identified a new home to protect these critical programs. Dr. Taylor will be an outstanding center director!

  13. This reorganization is a major step forward for the IDeA program. Basing this program under “workforce development” introduced an unnecessary obstacle in the lines of communication. Neither the INBRE nor the COBRE programs can be considered to be “workforce development”, neither would compete well with the gold standard of workforce development, the K award. These programs do not target K awards, but R01 and other such funding. They are capacity-building programs with a large budget that require direct lines of communication with the Director. Congratulations, Dr. Lorsch.

  14. The proposed reorganization makes sense and will be a major benefit. I fully support formation of the CRCB.

  15. I think combining the IDeA, SCORE and NARCH Programs into a single Center within NIGMS is an excellent decision. Dr. Taylor is the perfect person to lead the Center. I’m hoping that the reorganization leads to new opportunities to develop research capacity in areas of the country that historically have not been able to fully contribute to advancing human health. With creation of this Center I think the extramural community and NIGMS staff should begin to expore opportunities for the IDeA, SCORE and NARCH Programs to collaboratively work together to accomplish our collective goals.

  16. NAIPI Comment for Proposed New CRCB
    NAIPI fully supports the creation of the NIGMS Center for Research Capacity Building that will include the IDeA, SCORE, and NARCH Programs. This action will take the IDeA Program out of the Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity (TWD) and place them in a free standing Center. Because the IDeA Program encompasses not only training and education, but very importantly, research support and building research technology resources, NAIPI views the creation of the new Center as an excellent forward-thinking decision on the part of NIGMS leadership. The placement of the IDeA Program in the proposed Center will more effectively allow the integration and coordination of our activities that span all the missions of NIGMS. We believe that this reorganization will increase the level of input from the IDeA Program in NIGMS decision making because the Director of this Center will be a member of the senior staff of the NIGMS. We are also very supportive of Dr. Lorsch’s indication that Dr. W. Fred Taylor will be the Center’s first Director.
    The NAIPI Executive Committee
    Carolyn Hovde Bohach Ph.D., NAIPI President
    Lucia Pirisi-Creek, M.D., NAIPI Treasurer
    Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., NAIPI Secretary
    James Kenyon, Ph.D., NAIPI Past President
    Douglas Wright, Ph.D., NISBRE PI

    The NAIPI National Committee
    Northeastern Region Representatives
    Ralph Budd, M.D., COBRE PI
    Robert Freisel, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    William Green, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    Patricia Hand, Ph.D., INBRE PI
    Judith Van Houten, Ph.D., INBRE PI

    Southeastern Region Representatives
    Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., INBRE PI
    Lucia Pirisi-Creek, M.D., INBRE PI
    Prescott Deininger, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    Gary Rankin, Ph.D., INBRE PI
    Mark Smeltzer, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    Naren Vyavahare, Ph.D., COBRE PI

    Central Region Representatives
    Tatiana Bronich, Ph.D., COBRE PI

    Danny Dhanasekaran, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    Jonathan Geiger, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    Barbara Goodman, Ph.D., INBRE PI
    James Turpen, Ph.D., INBRE PI

    Western Region Representatives
    Carolyn Hovde Bohach, Ph.D., INBRE PI
    Larry Forney, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    James Kenyon, Ph.D., INBRE PI
    Mark Quinn, Ph.D., COBRE PI
    Richard Yanagihara, M.D., M.P.H., COBRE PI

  17. No one would begrudge the NIH spending some of its money and time on research in
    underfunded states, and for underfunded minorities. However, this already is a focus of the NSF. The NIH should focus on spending its funds on the best and most important biomedical research wherever it is being done, and regardless of who is doing it, even if certain states or groups are not funded as well as others. And, calling it the Center for Research Capacity is pretty subtle. Why don’t you call it what it really is and what it represents?
    What you should really be working on are new ideas for grant applications, grant review, and the qualifications of SROs, in order to confront the obvious disarray in the current extramural grant system. The amount of federal money for the NIH is not going to increase substantially for quite a while, so it would seem that some very basic re-organization of the entire extramural granting system is required.

  18. I am pleased that the NARCH and other diversity oriented grants continue to be a NIGMS priority and agree that housing these programs together is a good idea. Capacity building is the key to improving community health.

  19. Not knowing details, of course, at first glance, I would say the Center for Research Capacity Building is a good idea.
    I have been involved with NIGMS research development and training initiatives for more then 15 years, as both grantee and standing review panel member.
    In recent year (when serving ad hoc on panels), I have felt that the review process, particularly of SC grants, has become less constructive for the development of research capacity at minority institutions then it was before the Institutional restructuring of NIGMS. My hopes are that the Center for Research Capacity Building would be able to remedy this and generate renewed focus on the mission of these grants.

  20. I agree with the new NIGMS Center for Research Capacity Building that will include the IDeA, SCORE, and NARCH Programs. I was involved with helping start the Great Lakes NARCH and many at the UW have been involved in some way ever since it was funded over 10 years ago. Having a NARCH in WI has been extremely beneficial to our educational and research work in partnership with WI tribal communities, as well as for the career development of many researchers, including myself and my students. I believe that the combination of these 3 excellent programs will increase their respective impact, and hopefully open up even more opportunities for Native students and their communities to benefit.


    Alexandra Adams MD, PhD
    Director, Collaborative Center for Health Equity
    University of Wisconsin School of Medicne and Public Health

  21. Excellent plan! I concur with the enthusiastic comments of my colleagues and the official position of NAIPI on the establishment of the new Center, its proposed leadership and structure. I look forward to new opportunities of cross talk and collaboration among IDeA, SCORE and NARCH, this is a positive move under all possible points of view. Thank you, Dr. Lorsch, for your leadership and vision.

  22. The combination of the IDeA, SCORE and NARCH Programs to form a new Center for Research Capacity Building in the NIGMS is an excellent plan. These programs truly share the same goals and should be able to synergize to the benefit of all. And Dr. Taylor is the ideal leader for such Center. We appreciate your vision, Dr. Lorsch.

  23. I strongly support and applaud Dr. Lorsch’s vision in creating a new Center for Research Capacity Building within NIGMS. The idea that the new CRCB will be more agile and efficient in dealing with the “complexity” of capacity building programs such as the IDeA program shows that Dr. Lorsch truly understands the environment and elements needed to ensure that these programs are able to continue to grow and strengthen. I also appreciate the statement that “the mission, goals, staff or budgets” of the programs would not change and would like to echo my colleagues expressions of support for Dr. Fred Taylor leading the new Center.

    Jessica Molesworth
    Executive Director
    EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation

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