News from TDR Director, John Reeder
The day was cold but the mood was warm while our photo was taken at our annual staff retreat last month. We have much to feel good about – an exciting new work plan, a whole range of grant opportunities and an anniversary to celebrate – 40 years since the concept for a programme like TDR was established.
Celebrating 40 years
It was in May of 1974 that the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to establish a programme on research and training on tropical diseases, that was operationalized as TDR. Forty years later, there is much to celebrate, and we’ll be doing this throughout the year, including profiles of some of the thousands of scientists we have supported and who have gone on to accomplish so much. If you’re looking for impact, you’ll find it in these stories.
New cycle of work
We are also excited about the start of our new 2 year cycle of work. More than 75% of our work is new, and all the hard work in developing the plans is starting to pay off. We have really expanded our support to help low- and middle-income countries engage in research that makes sure effective tools and treatments get to the people most in need. We are providing training in a number of ways, and I also want to remind people about this Friday’s deadline for the latest round of grant applications (stay tuned, more will be coming!).
New STAC members
Change is in the air in other ways. We have a smaller, leaner Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, with 9 new members who represent a truly international level of quality. They include heads of research institutions and public health schools, and they offer a rich variety of experiences from across the globe. They’ll be here in Geneva in March for their annual review of our scientific priorities, and I am looking forward to their advice and wisdom as we shape this new work plan.
Changes at WHO
As you know, we work closely with colleagues in the World Health Organization’s control programmes, and there is change going on there, too. Long-time Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Lorenzo Savioli retires in May. He will be replaced by Dr Dirk Engels, who has been coordinator of the preventive chemotherapy and transmission control unit. I’m looking forward to continuing our relationship with Dirk, who we have worked with on many projects over the years.
"We have much to feel good about – an exciting new work plan, a whole range of grant opportunities and an anniversary to celebrate."
John Reeder, TDR Director
Another director, Robert Newman of the Global Malaria Programme, left at the end of January to become the new Managing Director for Policy and Performance at the GAVI Alliance. While the search for his replacement goes on, I have been asked to fill the role of Acting Director because of my experience working in malaria. This is a good opportunity to deepen our relationship with this department and to learn from each other. I look forward to welcoming the new director once the search is completed and I want to reassure you that my primary focus will continue to be TDR, where I will remain.
We’re off to a great start this year. I am looking forward to seeing you at meetings and activities coming up throughout the year, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to work with you on this new round designed to continue the impact started almost 40 years ago.
For more information, please contact
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289