On Dec. 16, psychologist Alan I. Leshner, PhD, received Senate confirmation of his Presidential appointment to a six-year term on the National Science Board. The Board oversees the National Science Foundation (NSF) and advises the president and Congress by conducting studies and publishing reports on science policy issues.
In 2003, for example, the board published a report on America's evolving science and technology work force.
Leshner is the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a position he's held since 2001. Before that, he directed the National Institute on Drug Abuse and worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation.
Only three other psychologists have served on the 24-member board since it was established in 1950: Katherine McBride, PhD, from 1962 to 1968, Roger Heyns, PhD, from 1967 to 1976, and Richard Atkinson, PhD, from 1977 to 1980.
"I look forward to bringing my training in and perspective from psychology and neuroscience to the National Science Board's important policy discussions," Leshner says.
Right now, he says, the most important issue the board faces is NSF's budget, which Congress recently cut for only the third time in the foundation's history. "That is a dangerous signal for all of science," Leshner says.
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