Dr. Sally Rockey will join the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) as its first executive director, the Foundation announced June 11. Rockey, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) deputy director for extramural research, will assume her new role in September 2015.
Rockey will use her deep knowledge of research across many sectors to optimize the innovation and impact potential of research initiatives funded by FFAR. The Foundation, formed to increase research in food and agriculture as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, will continue to operate under the direction of its board until Rockey assumes her duties in September.
Prior to joining the NIH in 2005, Rockey spent 19 years of at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (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. There, Rockey established the National Research Initiative and led expansion of its programs.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Rockey as the Foundation’s first executive director,” said FFAR Board chair and former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. “Dr. Rockey’s nearly 20 years of experience at the Department of Agriculture and her proven commitment to scientific integrity and innovation will be invaluable assets for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research during this crucial stage of development.”
As executive director, Rockey will steer FFAR’s approach to addressing challenges in food and agriculture through funding cutting edge research, fostering public-private sector collaboration, and supporting young scientists in the agricultural field. Her familiarity with the global scientific research landscape will inform Rockey’s defining role in charting FFAR’s strategic direction.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the first director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” said Rockey. “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. I look forward to working with the FFAR board, which is composed of a diverse group of committed leaders and led by one of our great agriculture stalwarts, Dan Glickman. The future holds great promise for FFAR and I am delighted to be at the helm.”
Leading the largest extramural research operation in the world at the NIH, Rockey oversees a $25 billion annual budget and 500 employees and contractors.
Rockey is a recognized leader in the scientific community. In her current role, Rockey cultivates strong relationships with the academic, public, and private sector to advance NIH-supported biomedical research and leads numerous cross-agency activities to bring government-wide approaches to federally-supported research. She has earned dozens of honors including the prestigious Presidential Rank Award.
Rockey is an insect physiologist by training and holds a Ph.D. in entomology from The Ohio State University.