The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities.
We spoke with Enriqueta C. Bond, PhD, president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund since 1994. Also interviewed was Nancy S. Sung, PhD, a senior program officer with BWF. Dr. Sung oversees the focus areas of translational research and interfaces in science. These areas include programs ranging from individual bridging awards for postdoctoral fellows to midcareer awards for clinical investigators. Dr. Sung currently chairs the Health Research Alliance, a growing consortium of private foundations and voluntary health agencies with a shared interest in fostering basic science discoveries and removing barriers that prevent them from being translated into clinical studies and improvements in health care. Kathryn N. Ahlport, MSPH, is program manager of the Health Research Alliance and is responsible for strategic planning for the organization and for managing the day-to-day operations of the Alliance and its working groups.
JIM: The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has sustained a long commitment to research in the medical sciences. Although most investigators know of the existence of your foundation, the scope of activities that the BWF supports is not as widely appreciated. Please give a sense of the breadth of BWF programs that are dedicated to the promotion of the medical sciences, particularly in the area of clinical research.
Bond: The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has been in existence for 50 years. We celebrated our 50-year anniversary this May 25th. We started out as the corporate foundation for the Burroughs Wellcome Company, which was totally owned by the Wellcome Trust, the UK counterpart to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The Trust began to sell the company publicly in the late 1980s due to the trustees' apprehension about holding only one …