Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

NIH extramural-research chief resigns

Sally Rockey, known for her popular blog, will head a foundation that supports agricultural research.

Sally Rockey has overseen the NIH's external-grant office since 2005. Credit: NIH

Sally Rockey, the deputy director for extramural research at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said today (11 June) that she will leave the agency in September. 

Rockey oversees the NIH's grants to external researchers, which account for the bulk of the agency's US$30.3-billion annual budget. She has worked at the NIH since 2005, coming to the agency after 19 years at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In her next position, Rockey will lead a non-profit corporation called the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, which handles private donations to research. The US government created the organization in 2014.

“I will greatly miss her wisdom, courage and creativity as we tackle the knotty issues associated with extramural-grant funding, especially in this particularly stark budget climate,” NIH director Francis Collins said in a statement. “Sally has done an outstanding job of steering the NIH through many challenging times, and we will be forever in her debt.”

Rockey holds a PhD in entomology — an unusual background for a top NIH official — and her office is decorated with stuffed ladybird-beetle toys. She is perhaps best known for her NIH blog, Rock Talk, which discusses topics such as trends in NIH-funded research and the agency's funding policies. Rockey has also used the blog to solicit public comment on proposed NIH initiatives, such as a scheme for an “emeritus grant” intended to help late-career scientists to wind down their labs.

Authors

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

NIH plan to give ageing scientists cash draws scepticism 2015-Feb-11

Transparency: Two years of blogging the NIH 2013-Jan-16

NIH firm on grant application rules 2011-Mar-29

NIH statement

Rock Talk blog

Related external links

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Reardon, S. NIH extramural-research chief resigns. Nature (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature.2015.17747

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature.2015.17747

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing