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Francis's way

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Science  16 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6454, pp. 632-635
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6454.632

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Summary

In early June 2017, President Donald Trump announced that Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, since 2009, would remain NIH director. Two years later, biomedical scientists are counting themselves lucky. Collins has helped shield NIH from threatened budget cuts as well as the upheaval that has shaken many other federal agencies under the Trump administration. As he completes a decade as NIH director this month, Collins, 69, has been a survivor—he's one of few top-level holdovers from former President Barack Obama's administration and has served longer than any other NIH head in 50 years. Observers say Collins has also been one of the most influential directors ever to shape NIH, which with a budget of $39 billion this year is the world's largest biomedical research agency. Some academic researchers have complained that his centrally managed projects aimed at generating large amounts of data drain resources from curiosity-driven individual grants. Still, even some former critics have come around.

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