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Sethuraman Panchanathan

Arizona State University

Trump to nominate Arizona State computer scientist to lead the National Science Foundation

President Donald Trump has chosen a 58-year-old, Indian-born computing engineer and university administrator to be the next director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Trump today announced his intention to nominate Sethuraman Panchanathan to succeed France Córdova, whose 6-year term ends in spring 2020. Panchanathan, who uses the nickname “Panch,” is executive vice president and chief innovation officer at Arizona State University in Tempe. He is also a member of the National Science Board, NSF’s oversight body.

“The impending formal nomination of Dr. Panchanathan is a win for science in the Trump Administration and a win for America,” said Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in a statement. “I’d like to thank the outgoing NSF Director, Dr. France Córdova, for her tireless service in a variety of scientific leadership roles at home and abroad. Dr. Córdova has been an exceptional leader and will be leaving NSF in capable and effective hands.”

“For five years, [Panchanathan] has been a bold, energizing presence on the National Science Board and he was a leader in every sense of the word in the research community prior to that,” said NSF Director France Córdova in a statement. “Panch has the character and knowledge that make him an ideal fit for the job.”

“He is the best kind of disruptor, one who understands that the best way to predict the future is to invent it,” said Diane Souvaine, chair of the National Science Board in Alexandria, Virginia, in a statement.