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A Message from Our President

2021 was another challenging year as the world continued to face disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. At RTI, we remained resolute and fearless, determined to continue using science-based solutions to improve the human condition—all in pursuit of a better tomorrow.

In 2021, RTI scientists fought for a healthier tomorrow, working to eliminate the hurdles to discovering new antibiotics, accelerating the research to understand the effects of long-haul Covid, and providing stewardship for NIH-funded research focused on opioid use and pain management. Our multidisciplinary efforts took us to Guinea, where we are working alongside leaders to prevent and treat malaria, and kept us close to home in North Carolina, where we are headquartered, to ensure the drinking water in childcare centers is free from lead.

To build a sustainable tomorrow, teams with various expertise and diverse skillsets confronted challenges relating to the environment and climate change—issues critical to the future of humanity. We advanced our work to uncover solutions for clean energy, water access and sanitation, and conservation and to address the climate crisis. Teams with an innovation focus explored plastic recycling and chemicals of concern and our international development experts supported biodiversity in Tanzania and regional energy partnerships in South Asia.

For us, an empowered tomorrow means ensuring equity and opportunity for all, from educational opportunities to health care access. In 2021, we continued our look at the pandemic’s impact on postsecondary students and addressed sexual assault in institutions such as the U.S. military. Our lens, as always, was global, ranging from Africa to South America to Asia. In the Philippines, for example, we focused on driving growth by linking industry and education and strove to improve basic education.

Our work to improve the human condition is always forward focused, and this perspective drives our organization’s decision making as well. As I transition into retirement after 10 years as CEO and President of RTI, our Board of Governors announced in November 2021 that Tim Gabel would succeed me as the next leader of the institute. Tim is a leader who will sustain and expand the vital work that we do. He understands our organization, our people, and our competitive landscape, and he will empower our organization to deliver on our mission well into the future. I leave leadership of the institute to Tim and the executive leadership team, confident in their abilities to work dynamically with the staff as the organization evolves into the future.

At RTI, our commitment to science and our vision for a better world help us persevere during difficult times. I am incredibly proud of, and grateful to, our staff for their continued dedication, and I look forward to seeing how the institute continues to provide science for a better tomorrow. We have built a foundation for success at RTI that allows us to move beyond the moment and shape a brighter future for everyone.


E. Wayne Holden

View the Annual Report