The Senate voted by voice yesterday to confirm academic Sethuraman Panchanathan to be the next director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“I have great confidence that Dr. Panchanathan’s proven leadership and vision for disrupting the status quo will help usher in a bright future of scientific breakthroughs for the benefit of the American people,” House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, said. “I look forward to working with him to advance the foundation’s critical research and STEM education mission in the years ahead.”

Nominated to fill the position in December 2019, Panchanathan is replacing former Director France Córdova, who served in the position since 2013. Panchanathan holds multiple titles at Arizona State University, including executive vice president of the school’s Knowledge Enterprise and chief research and information officer.

“NSF’s work has always been critical to America’s scientific progress and technological competitiveness,” House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said. “Now, NSF is also supporting and funding advanced research that will help us detect, treat, and ultimately defeat COVID-19, and there’s never been a more important time for strong and smart leadership. Dr. Panchanathan’s years of experience in research and academia have prepared him for this role.”

The term of Panchanathan’s new position is six years.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.