On Sept. 29, the U.S. Senate confirmed Subra Suresh, President Barack Obama’s nominee for director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), for a six-year term.
Suresh, 54, served as dean of the engineering school and as Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A mechanical engineer who later became interested in materials science and biology, Suresh has done pioneering work studying the biomechanics of blood cells under the influence of diseases such as malaria.
From 2000 to 2006, Suresh served as the head of the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He joined MIT in 1993 as the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and held joint faculty appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering, as well as the Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Suresh holds a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, a master’s degree from Iowa State University, and earned his ScD from MIT in 1981.
Suresh was nominated by President Obama to become the new NSF director on June 8. He replaces Arden L. Bement, Jr., who led the agency from 2004 until he resigned in May of this year.
NSF’s budget for 2010 is $6.9 billion. The agency’s budget request for 2011 is $7.4 billion, an 8-percent increase over 2010, which supports the President’s goal of increasing the nation’s total public and private investment in research and development to at least 3 percent of the gross domestic product.
What are your feelings on the direction of the NSF? What changes do you hope Dr. Suresh will make?