The Senate has confirmed Subra Suresh as the new director of the National Science Foundation. He replaces Arden Bement who resigned earlier this year.
Suresh was the Dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to MIT in 1993, Suresh was on the faculty of Brown University. He received his Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1977, his MS from Iowa State University in 1979, and his ScD from MIT in 1981. Suresh’s research has been in the areas of mechanical engineering, materials science, and biomedical engineering. )
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Suresh for this position in early June. After his nomination was received in the Senate it was referred to its Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The committee reported the nomination to the Senate on September 23, where it was confirmed by a voice vote on September 29.
House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) issued the following statement following Suresh’s confirmation:
“I congratulate Dr. Suresh on his appointment. NSF will benefit from having an accomplished engineer at the helm, in particular with experience in some of the fast-growing fields of materials science, nanotechnology and the life sciences.
“Dr. Suresh is known as a strong advocate for greater collaboration across fields of engineering and science. We know that finding solutions to the nation’s greatest scientific and technological challenges increasingly requires strong and sustained interdisciplinary collaboration. Dr. Suresh’s experience will help NSF - and, with it, the nation - remain on the cutting edge.”
Suresh becomes Director of the National Science Foundation at an important time. The Administration is now actively developing the budget request that will be sent to Congress next February, with key deliberations underway at NSF and the Office of Management and Budget. This summer, the OMB and the Office of Science and Technology Policy sent a memo to the heads of agencies outlining the Administration’s FY 2012 science and technology priorities.
House and Senate appropriators have largely set the parameters of the foundation’s FY 2011 budget. A House subcommittee recommended an increase of 8.0 percent, as requested by the Administration. Senate appropriators recommended a 7.0 percent increase. Passage of a final appropriations bill awaits the return of Congress next month. Last year, NSF received a 6.7 percent funding increase to $6.9 billion. NSF is one of three agencies targeted for a doubling of its budget.
Suresh’s term as the Director of the National Science Foundation is six years.