National Science Board Announces New Leadership and Members and Releases Vision 2030 Report

May 21, 2020

Earlier this month, the National Science Board (NSB), which oversees the National Science Foundation, met (virtually), announced new leadership, and released the Vision 2030 report.

Ellen Ochoa, currently serving as vice-chair, was elected to succeed Diane Souvaine as NSB Chair. Having served as chair for a term of two years, Dr. Souvaine is completing her service to the board after serving two six-year terms. Ochoa, an astronaut with a doctorate in electrical engineering, was the first Hispanic woman in space. Most recently, Dr. Ochoa served as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center until she retired in 2018. Victor McCrary, the vice president for research and graduate programs at the University of the District of Columbia, will take over as vice chair. McCrary received his doctorate in chemistry and has held administrative positions at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Morgan State University. The White House has announced intention to nominate four new members and one returning member to the NSB: 

  • Aaron Dominguez, Catholic University
  • Sudarsanam Suresh Babu, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Dario Gil, IBM Research
  • Heather Wilson, University of Texas, El Paso
  • Roger Beachy, Washington University will be appointed to a second term

Members are appointed for six-year terms that are not subject to Senate confirmation.

The NSB shared highlights from the Vision 2030 report, identifying opportunities and challenges facing the U.S. science and engineering enterprise over the next decade. The report recommends timely action to maintain U.S. scientific leadership as other nations increase their investments in research and development (R&D). The NSB outlines four main areas of effort the agency and other stakeholders should prioritize: delivering social and economic benefits from NSF-funded research, developing a strong and diverse STEM workforce, expanding research infrastructure across the country, and fostering a global scientific community. Recommendations for more specific actions include undertaking an organizational review of NSF’s directorate structure and funding models, considering the creation of a directorate focused on translating research into applications, and evaluating NSF’s broader impacts criteria.

In addition, last Friday the NSB released the 2020 S&E Indicators reports—Science and Technology: Public Attitudes, Knowledge and Interest. “The share of Americans who report having a ‘great deal of confidence’ in leaders of the scientific community has been relatively stable over the last several decades, and was 44 percent in 2018, second only to that for military leaders. Even before the current COVID-19 crisis, most Americans have consistently supported federal funding of scientific research and believe that this research is beneficial.”