I think you may be right that the rules should be relaxed, perhaps requiring senior employees to place their stocks in a blind trust or some other financial mechanism to distance them from their assets.

But I am skeptical that the Conflicts of Interest requirements are the real holdup of appointing a new director. Is there really no prominent scientist who would jump at the opportunity to direct the largest biomedical funder in the world?

I also wonder if eminent scientists, like Langer, are the best options for running these organizations. It seems like the role of director is more of administration and management, whereas a seasoned bureaucrat would also be a strong pick.

I'm speaking out of complete ignorance. The NIH organizational structure is foreign to me, but I think this is an interesting conversation about maintaining ethical standards in research while still encouraging good science.

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