Washington Update: Administration Nominates National Science Foundation Director

The Administration has announced its nomination of Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Executive Vice President at Arizona State University, to be the next Director of NSF following the pending conclusion of Dr. France Córdova’s term this spring.  By training, Dr. Panchanathan is an electrical and computer engineer.  Among several possible changes, Dr. Panchanathan’s nomination brings with it the question of how or if NSF will continue to focus on the “Ten Big Ideas” that Dr. Córdova championed.  Based on his previous work, Dr. Panchanathan is likely to continue to emphasize the importance of broadening participation at NSF.

Dr. Panchanathan’s nomination has been met with a warm reception by the broader research community.  Dr. Córdova and National Science Board Chair Dr. Diane L. Souvaine both expressed their support for the nominee, highlighting Dr. Panchanathan’s leadership at Arizona State and his service on the National Science Board. 

Despite this support, a number of nominees for agency leadership positions have been held up in the Senate over various political disputes.  As such, Dr. Panchanathan’s nomination process could take longer than anticipated.

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