The University of Washington, Seattle recently received a $65 million grant from the NIH to help improve and streamline the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) research program. This is the second grant of this type awarded to UW and will fund the program over a five year period.
The grant is part of a recent push by the NIH to promote translational research nationwide and aims to address a significant problem facing scientific research: the need for basic research to be transformed into commercial products and services which directly benefit the public.
A focus on translational research has recently become very politically important for the NIH. It is increasingly necessary for the institute to show concrete results from federal funding to skeptical congressmen in order to keep its programs off the budgetary chopping block. However, beyond the political implications of translational research, a focus on commercializing basic research discoveries is an important step in the scientific process.
Although scientists are able to make incredible discoveries in the lab, when it comes to navigating the convoluted maze of government regulations, clinical trials, and venture capital involved in commercializing research, even the best scientist may be overwhelmed. The goal of the UW translational research program, and other NIH funded programs, is to provide scientists with easily accessible tools to commercialize their basic research discoveries.
The UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) will create a centralized program where scientists can go to move their ideas forward from the lab. ITHS will be equipped with a variety of services. The institute will help UW scientists with everything from running pilot projects, to securing the resources necessary for clinical trials, to the bioethics of commercialization.
Additionally, the ITHS has actively engaged in building research partnerships with institutions throughout Washington, Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. In particular, the institute has a close local partnership with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Moving forward, ITHS aims to increase its outreach to local indigenous communities and rural areas to further extend its already extensive network.
"I can't tell you how many ideas that are absolutely fantastic just drop because the inventor had no idea how to take it forward," said Nora Disis, Cancer researcher and head of the ITHS. ITHS plans to take a bold step to address this problem, and with the help of their new grant from the NIH, they may be well on their way towards doing it.
(Photo of Nora Disis courtesy of UW Medicine)
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will hold its own events focusing on Washington's life science basic and translational research partnerships between scientists and the science equipment industry with our Seattle BioResearch Product Faire event held on the University of Washington Campus coming up on October 25, 2012. This is BCI's 22nd Semi-Annual show at UW and provides excellent opportunities for laboratory equipment suppliers and life science researchers to network in a professional, popular trade show environment.
For more information on the UW life science marketplace including additional NIH funding statistics and general vendor information click on the button below: