Update on TDR organizational changes
TDR's reorganization is on track and in full swing. A mid-term review of the programme's new strategy and planning, initially planned for 2012, has been brought forward to this year so that its results can provide input into planning for the 2012-2013 biennium. A subgroup of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) is meeting 23-24 November to review the scientific programme results from the past year and the proposed programme budget for 2012-2013.
Former Director Rob Ridley has moved to the University of Malawi as Pro-Vice Chancellor. In the meantime, Marie-Paule Kieny has taken responsibility for TDR. Dr Kieny is the Assistant Director-General for the Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research cluster at WHO, and also TDR's Special Programme Coordinator.
The search for a new director is underway. The application process has closed, and a search committee will be interviewing candidates in November. The goal is to have someone selected by the end of the year.
The number of personnel at TDR has been reduced to about 65 and a revised structure is being put into place. Some of the major changes in TDR activities include:
- Stewardship and empowerment functions are now working together as one unit.
- The launch of the Global Report on Research for Infectious Diseases of Poverty has been moved to 2012.
- TropIKA.net is being transitioned to external partners with the active participation of WHO's knowledge management and sharing department.
- Direct funding of lead discovery activities is being phased out to focus on the establishment and support of regional and sub-regional innovation networks, such as ANDI, which has been launched in Africa.
- Visceral leishmaniasis elimination and malaria product development activities have merged with those of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
- Diagnostics activities are being mainstreamed across research areas. Major ongoing activities will be seen through to completion, but other activities, like the sample and specimen banks, will be transitioned to other partners.
- A new unit called 'Vectors, Environment and Society' is combining expertise and research projects on community-based interventions and approaches, vectors control, and the environment.