The SMRB of the NIH has apparently recommended (ScienceInsider) the creation of a new Center (approximately the same status as an Institute) for translational medicine and therapeutics. Now if you've been paying attention, you will notice that there has been a great deal of trans-IC pressure for both translational research and the creation of new therapies that can be applied to humans over the past several years. So personally I'm not seeing where there is an argument for a new Center.
Now one caveat is that the solution may be that the current National Center for Research Resources is either closed or becomes rebadged and reconfigured for this purpose.
But this may not happen. The way I understand it, the authorizing legislation for the NIH currently caps the number of ICs at 27. And this casts a whooooooole new light on the NIAAA/NIDA merger which is steaming ahead.
It puts paid to the argument that having 27 ICs is too many, is too inefficient or any of that nonsense. It casts severe doubt on the idea that NIDA/NIAAA is a test case for subsequent additional mergers of other ICs.
Instead it makes it look very much as if NIAAA is being subsumed into NIDA simply to make statutory way for the creation of this new translational medicine Center.
And that is a whoooole 'nother ballgame. Because the discussion now should be "Is NIAAA worth losing in favor of the new Center?".
To remind my readers, my approval of the NIDA/NIAAA merger is based on the stipulation that merging ICs is a good idea, will lead to efficiencies, etc. And that there is a general will to further scale back the number of ICs. Given this motivation the NIDA/NIAAA merger is about as obvious as can be. If those goals are not a given, then I'm in a very different stance about this current merger.
And I really, really do not like disingenuous bait-and-switch arguments. This is starting to smell like one.