Veteran science policy lobbyist Patrick White, now with the Association of American Universities (AAU), has been named legislative affairs director for the National Institutes of Health. The move continues a long tradition in Washington, D.C., in which science policy types shuttle between Congress, the executive branch, and non-profit research groups. White started his career 21 years ago as chief of staff for the late Representative Robert W. Davis (R-MI) and worked briefly for White House Science Advisor Allan Bromley during the first Bush Administration. He later headed legislative affairs for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) before coming to AAU, where has been vice president for federal relations for the organization of more than 60 research universities.
White joins NIH's Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis in the next few weeks. He will oversee such matters as preparing NIH Director Francis Collins's testimony to appropriations committees and responding to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)'s call for tighter conflicts of interest policies for extramural grantees. NIH still has another key policy job to fill-budget director, vacant since John Bartrum left to work for the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee in December.