On Dec. 18, President Donald J. Trump announced his intention to nominate Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan to serve as the 15th director of the National Science Foundation.
Panchanathan, who has been a member of the National Science Board, which establishes NSF policy and advises both the agency and the president since 2014, would succeed France Córdova when her six-year term ends in 2020, said the foundation.
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.
Appointed by the president, the position is confirmed by the Senate.
In a statement, Córdova stated that she was “heartened” at the idea of Panchanathan as her successor.
“For five years, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan has been a bold, energizing presence on the National Science Board and he was a leader in every sense of the word in the research community prior to that. I was delighted to learn that the White House named him as nominee to serve as the next director of the National Science Foundation,” said Córdova. “This position requires the ability to connect with all stakeholders in the U.S. science and engineering community, walking the fine line between serving and leading. Panch has the character and knowledge that make him an ideal fit for the job.”
Currently, Panchanathan leads the knowledge enterprise development at Arizona State University, which advances research, innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, and global and economic development at ASU.
The Indian American is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is also the Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Society of Optical Engineering. He is currently serving as the chair-elect in the Council on Research within the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Panchanathan was the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Multimedia Magazine and is also an editor or associate editor of many other journals.
National Science Board Chair Dr. Diane L. Souvaine added that she was “delighted” by the president’s nomination for NSF director.
“It’s been a privilege to have worked with Dr. Panchanathan for the past five years, and I know he is drawn to public service for the right reasons – a passion for our country and how our discoveries and innovations can make the world a better place,” she stated in a press release. “His leadership at Arizona State University has been key to their growth and emergence as an innovator in higher education, especially in terms of partnerships and entrepreneurship.”
“He is the best kind of disruptor, one who understands that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. In working together with the National Science Board, I have been impressed with his care for and understanding of the National Science Foundation’s unique mission,” Souvaine added.