January 6, 2017

Statement on the Departure of Dr. Philip E. Bourne

It is with truly mixed emotions that I announce the departure of Philip E. Bourne, Ph.D., who will be leaving his post as NIH’s first Associate Director for Data Science to become the Stephenson Chair of Data Science, Director of the Data Science Institute, and Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.  I am happy for Phil to have this exceptional opportunity, and know that UVA will be well served by his depth of knowledge in data science.  At the same time, I am saddened that NIH will be losing his prowess and passion for tackling the opportunities and challenges of our increasingly data-driven biomedical research enterprise.  Phil will remain at NIH through April 30, 2017, and National Library of Medicine Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., will serve as Interim Associate Director for Data Science until a new appointment is made.

Phil joined NIH on March 10, 2014, to lead the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program, an NIH-wide priority initiative to ensure NIH plays a major role in coordinating access to and analysis of many different biomedical research datasets, as well as providing resources for training and software development. Under his leadership, NIH developed the concept of the Commons, a shared virtual space where scientists can find, manage, share, use, and reuse data, software, metadata, and workflows; institutionalized FAIR, a set of guiding principles to make data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable; and established the NIH Data Science Workforce Development Center to advance data science education.

I wish Phil all the best in his new position. We will truly miss him.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health