Science Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist who has served as editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals since 2013, today was nominated to stand for election as next president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). If elected, as expected, McNutt would become the first woman to head the U.S. government's premier science advisory organization, which was founded in 1863.
McNutt is slated to take the helm at NAS on 1 July 2016, when current president Ralph J. Cicerone ends his second term, the Council of NAS said in a statement. Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist, has served as president since 2005. McNutt plans to remain at the helm of the Science journals until she formally takes the NAS post.
In a statement, McNutt said she was "immensely honored" to be nominated to lead NAS, an organization that she said "represents the highest standards of scientific honesty, quality, and integrity."
The AAAS Board of Directors will soon launch an effort to recruit McNutt's successor, said Rush Holt, AAAS CEO and executive publisher of Science.
"Following a long line of outstanding editors of Science, Marcia McNutt has continued to raise the standards of this great journal," he said.
Prior to joining Science as its 19th editor-in-chief and the first woman to hold that position, McNutt served as head of the U.S. Geological Survey, where she played a pivotal role in the government's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Earlier, she was president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and a professor of geophysics at Stanford University. She began her faculty career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Under Academy's bylaws, other candidates could be nominated by NAS members, but that has never happened. McNutt’s name will be presented to the full membership for formal ratification on 15 December, the council said.