NORDP 2021 Plenary

NSF’s Sethuraman Panchanathan Builds New Partnerships to Drive Research

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan

For more than 70 years, the National Science Foundation has been powering discovery and innovation across the entire range of fundamental science and engineering research and education. As NSF’s 15th Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan sees extraordinary opportunities ahead for the research community to build on that legacy.

When he presents his plenary session, titled “Strengthening the Symbiosis of Exploratory and Translational Research @ Speed & Scale,” on Mon., May 3, from 11:00 a.m. to noon (EDT), he will share his insights on the future of research and the vital role for research development in that future.

“The framework for seeding bold, large-scale innovative research with meaningful societal impact is part of the DNA of NSF,” Panchanathan says. “Research development is integral to both NSF’s success and how we foster success in the research community. It’s about building the capacity and tools to advance knowledge more efficiently, and about building platforms and ecosystems that spur innovation.”

He notes that research development has sped up the pace of science and engineering, enabling researchers to make more discoveries and bigger breakthroughs faster than ever before.

“When I talk about my vision for strengthening the research enterprise at speed and scale, that’s also a strategic vision for expanding research development. Because our future success is going to depend on the investments we make in people, platforms, and partnerships. We need to strengthen the research community by reaching the tremendous talent that exists throughout this nation,” he says. He especially hopes to reach the “Missing Millions,” those with STEM capabilities from underrepresented communities who don’t yet see a pathway into science and engineering.

“We’ve built up tremendous research capacity over the past 70 years, and that is a launch pad not only for big science and engineering accomplishments, but for building even greater capacity for discovery and innovation,” Panchanathan continues. “My vision relies on partnerships, not just how NSF can create partnerships, but how we can foster environments where collaboration and multidisciplinary work thrives. Innovative, collaborative ecosystems are powerful tools for scaling up research progress.”

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.