Science Public Policy News

Senate Confirms New Director of NSF and Psychologist for National Science Board

On November 20th, the Senate confirmed appointments of eight scientists to the National Science Board (NSB), the 24-member independent body designated by Congress to oversee and establish policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and provide advice to the President and Congress on science and engineering issues.

By Heather O'Beirne Kelly

On November 20th, the Senate confirmed appointments of eight scientists to the National Science Board (NSB), the 24-member independent body designated by Congress to oversee and establish policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and provide advice to the President and Congress on science and engineering issues. Prominent among this group is Alan I. Leshner, the first psychologist to serve on the NSB in several decades. Leshner, a Fellow of APA and current Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will serve through May, 2010. He noted: "I'm delighted by this appointment. NSF is a wonderful agency that serves a vital role in the advancement of science worldwide. I look forward to bringing my training in and perspective from psychology and neuroscience to the National Science Board's important policy discussions."

President Bush's nominee for Director of NSF, Arden L. Bement, Jr., also received Senate confirmation for a period of six years, during which time he will serve in an ex officio capacity on the NSB. Bement has served as NSF's Acting Director since February, 2004, while he continued to serve as the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the Department of Commerce (his NSF appointment coincides with official resignation from his position at NIST). Bement, an engineer by training, has had a long career in industry, government and academia. He faces immediate challenges at NSF in terms of resources (one of his stated priorities), particularly in light of funding cuts to the agency in the Fiscal Year 2005 budget up for final congressional approval in the December lame duck session.