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National Science Board Holds Spring Meeting, Honoring Waterman Award Winners and Outgoing Board Members

May 12, 2022

On May 5, the National Science Board (NSB) held a hybrid meeting, the first with an in-person component since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSB is a 25-member body that oversees the National Science Foundation (NSF). Board Vice Chair Victor R. McCray welcomed board members and attendees for a packed agenda.

Vice Chair McCray and Director Sethuraman Panchanathan shared updates on numerous activities and initiatives including Congressional efforts to reauthorize NSF, the introduction of the new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate, and the fiscal year 2023 budget request. Dr. Panchanathan reported on his meetings across the country, hearing about the science and innovation made possible by the investments of NSF, and spreading his enthusiasm and vision for the agency.

The first panel of the meeting, Geography of Federal Funding, showcased data on the distribution of federal funding across the US and how it impacts talent and institutional diversity. Panelists shared ideas for increasing the robustness of the science and engineering enterprise across the entire nation. Members of Congress have been actively debating the challenges and opportunities when considering NSF investments across states.

Another meeting highlight was the opportunity to hear from the 2022 Waterman and NSB Public Service Awardees. Two themes emerged as the awardees introduced themselves and shared some highlights from their sciences. Board members noted the multidisciplinary nature of the science being honored as well as the clear potential for societal impact and focus on elevating diverse and underrepresented communities in science. FABBS Executive Director, Juliane Baron, was grateful for an invitation to join NSB members and NSF leadership for the Waterman Award Ceremony that evening.

Six NSB members concluded their terms at the board’s meeting last week, including its chair, former astronaut Ellen Ochoa. Other members rotating off are photon scientist Arthur Bienenstock, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs, chemist Carl Lineberger, environmental scientist Emilio Moran, and astronomer Anneila Sargent. Two board members – University of the District of Columbia Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs Victor McCrary and physicist and former Sandia National Laboratories executive Julia Phillips – were reappointed by the White House. The board held elections to determine its new leaders during a closed session last week. FABBS nominated several behavioral and brain scientists in May 2021.

The NSF officially confirmed Dan Reed, University of Utah Presidential Professor of Computational Science, as the new chair and Victor McCrary, University of the District of Columbia Vice President for Research, is re-elected as vice chair. You can read their full bios here.

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