Sally Rockey named to run Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

By Sarah Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON, June 11, 2015 - The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) today named Sally Rockey as its first executive director. Rockey is currently deputy director for extramural research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

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“This is an incredible opportunity for me to lead an organization through its early days and see FFAR develop as a vital component of the food and agriculture research enterprise,” Rockey said in a press release. “The future holds great promise for FFAR and I am delighted to be at the helm.”

FFAR, established in the 2014 farm bill to boost agricultural research, is now led by former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, who serves as the board chair. Congress provided $200 million for FFAR that must be matched by non-federal funds as the Foundation identifies and approves projects.

Rockey, who will assume her new role in September, spent 19 years at USDA, where she oversaw the competitive research component of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, which is today's National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

She now leads the largest extramural research operation in the world at the NIH, overseeing a $25 billion annual budget and 500 employees and contractors. 

Glickman said that Rockey's experience at USDA “and her proven commitment to scientific integrity and innovation” will be invaluable assets for FFAR.

He added in an interview that her vast experience in both agricultural and health research was “especially compelling” in the selection process.

Rockey is an insect physiologist by training and has a doctorate in entomology from Ohio State University.

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