It is with the greatest enthusiasm and appreciation that I begin my tenure as president and CEO of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The Fund has an extraordinary reputation and aura of prestige that has been fostered by the very successful efforts of the past presidents, Drs. Enriqueta Bond and John Burris, the staff, Board of Directors, and Advisory Committee members.
I now have the privilege and mandate of asking what is next for us as a foundation? This question enables us to think innovatively and critically about assessing our approach to grantmaking. It allows us to determine how we can have the greatest impact on biomedicine and society as a whole with the resources available to us. In 2020, we will initiate a strategic terrain mapping exercise in which we evaluate our funding program areas and determine whether or not they are having the impact that we desire. Are we funding the best science and research? Are we recognizing the best educational programs? We hope to support talented programs, not just the best known ones, because talent is everywhere and comes in many different forms.
In addition to our philanthropic support, we will continue to build on the community created by our awardees and staff. We will provide opportunities to help create and develop networks among others in biomedical research and STEM education so they may influence and inspire each other.
Moreover, I have a vision of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund headquarters in Research Triangle Park becoming a hub of intellectual activity for regional and national areas of interest. We hope to host more events and gatherings to discuss the important scientific topics of our time. We have an opportunity to engage in creative and constructive dialogue. This dialogue is the bridge connecting science to broader social issues.
To help keep you informed, we will undertake a stronger social media presence to allow you to better connect with the Fund’s work and engage with our many collaborations. A recent example is our partnership with the National Academies of Science to address the connection between human health and climate change. This convening may well instigate new funding areas at the Fund.
In the article following this letter, we provide an overview of our programmatic funding and pose several questions that we ask you to consider. Please share your feedback and thoughts with us as we undergo our strategic planning efforts. Reach out to us let us know what your ideas and concerns and help us become the best foundation that we can possibly be not just now but for the future and for the future of our society.
Louis J. Muglia, MD, PhD
President and CEO
Burroughs Wellcome Fund