MIT's Suresh Tapped to Be NSF Director

The dean of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is in line to become the next director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

ScienceInsider has learned that Subra Suresh, 53, has been tapped by the White House to replace Arden Bement Jr., who announced last month that he would be stepping down before his 6-year term ends in November. The Indian-born Suresh has been dean since 2007; he came to MIT in 1993 and was chair of the department of materials science and engineering before becoming dean.

A relative unknown in national policy circles, Suresh is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and maintains a productive research group in the emerging field of nanobiomechanics. That would make him a rarity at NSF, which has traditionally been led by senior administrators who are no longer active scientists.

The NSF director must be confirmed by the Senate, although it would be unusual for a nominee to attract any opposition. The 77-year-old Bement, a nuclear engineer, is stepping down on 1 June to lead a new global research institute at Purdue University, where he has been on leave.