Indian-American sworn in as America's top science official

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 04:16 IST

Nominated by US President Barack Obama, Suresh as Director will lead the USD 7.4 billion independent federal agency that supports all fields of science and engineering research, as well as a wide span of educational programmes that reach more than 2,000 institutions across the US.

"We are very grateful to have Subra taking this new task," Obama said in his remarks at the White House Science Fair after Suresh was sworn in yesterday as the 13th NSF director by John Holdren, Obama's science advisor. "He has been at MIT and has been leading one of the top engineering programmes in the country, and for him now to be able to apply that to the National Science Foundation is just going to be outstanding," he said.

"So we're very grateful for your service," he said acknowledging the contribution of Suresh in the field of science and technology. The swearing in ceremony took place in the Secretary of War Ceremonial Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.

Suresh was confirmed by the US Senate on September 30, for a six-year term. Suresh, 54, served as dean of the engineering school and as Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A mechanical engineer, who later became interested in materials science and biology, Suresh has done pioneering work studying the biomechanics of blood cells under the influence of diseases such as malaria.

From 2000 to 2006, Suresh served as the head of the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He joined MIT in 1993 as the R P Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and held joint faculty appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering, as well as the Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Suresh holds a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, a master's degree from Iowa State University, and earned his ScD from MIT in 1981.
Suresh was nominated by President Obama to become the new NSF director on June 8, replacing Arden L Bement Jr, who led the agency from 2004 until he resigned in May of this year.

NSF's budget for 2010 is USD 6.9 billion. The agency's budget request for 2011 is USD 7.4 billion, an eight-per cent increase over 2010, which supports the President's goal of increasing the nation's total public and private investment in research and development to at least 3 per cent of the gross domestic product.

(Published 19 October 2010, 03:06 IST)

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