Head Of NIH Extramural Research Departing For Agriculture

Sally Rockey, the deputy director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for extramural (not performed by the agency) research, recently announced she would be leaving her post in September (H/T Nature News).  She’s been with the NIH since 2005, and worked at the Department of Agriculture for 19 years before that.

Rockey’s blog, which I hope is archived, is worth reading, not only because she has used it to solicit input on potential new NIH grant initiatives.  I found it a useful place to gain insight on the funding processes faced by biomedical researchers in a way I hadn’t seen before, and in a way that doesn’t seem to be happening (at least as publicly) in other funding agencies.

What’s also interesting about this development is where Rockey is going.  She will become the Director of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research.  While created in 2014 by Congress, Rockey will become the Foundation’s first director.  The Foundation is a non-profit corporation that will solicit private sector support for agriculture research, and it will have some federal matching funds available. This foundation is distinct from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which is part of the Agriculture Department.

I think this foundation, like the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, are tools that deserve additional consideration in this era of additional financial scrutiny.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Dr. Rockey and her staff can do.

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