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Statement of Research!America on Francis Collins Retirement from NIH

Research!America expresses our deepest gratitude to Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, for his 12 years of service as the director of the National Institutes of Health. His tenure leading the largest supporter of biomedical and health research in the world has been nothing short of extraordinary.

“Dr. Collins has established a legacy as a tremendous advocate for the power of research to lift hope, and constantly expand the possibilities for research to provide answers to the devastation caused by disease,” said Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America. “His gift for communicating the value of research to policymakers and the public is among his many superpowers. Research!America is immensely proud to have worked with him throughout his career at NIH.”

Dr. Collins has always been a strong voice for how medical research can and does make a substantive difference in the world. At a Research!America event in 2011, he said: “What’s the nature of medical research? Let’s be clear that a society will be judged in how that society reaches out to those in need…We shouldn’t lose sight of that. The economic case for medical research is very strong but so is the humanitarian case.” 

Under Dr. Collins leadership, the NIH budget grew by 38% from $30 billion in 2009 to $41.3 billion in 2021, forging new ground in collaborative research, taking on such pivotally important roles as driving unprecedented strides in neuroscience through the BRAIN Initiative, fostering new research synergies through public-private partnerships, spurring basic research needed to effectively combat COVID-19 and its lingering health effects, and in many other landmark ways advancing medical, public health, and scientific progress.

“The nation, and the world, owe Dr. Collins a huge debt for his leadership in science across so many domains — from his key role in the Human Genome Project, to spearheading NIH’s COVID-19 response, along with so much more,” said Susan Dentzer, Research!America board chair. “We will miss him in his role at NIH, but we know his passion for science will lead him to make many ongoing contributions that will truly benefit all of us.” 

Dr. Collins has had a long history of involvement with Research!America; on several occasions he’s even shared his musical talents at our annual Advocacy Awards, most recently closing out our 2021 event with a duet of “Hallelujah” with Renée Fleming.

Our alliance is grateful for his invaluable contributions to medical and public health progress and looks forward to further partnership as he continues to advance the public good in his lab at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Contact Tim Haynes, Senior Director of Communications, at 571-482-2737 or thaynes@researchamerica.org with press inquiries.