2021 Research Development Champion Awardee

Honorees are distinguished by their advocacy for the critical role of research development and/or wider efforts to advance the research enterprise. Eligible nominees are visible external supporters of NORDP and its members; they are not required to be research development professionals or NORDP members. The 2021 RD Champion Awardee is Sethuraman Panchanathan, PhD.

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. As NSF’s 15th Director, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan sees extraordinary opportunities ahead for the research community to build on that legacy. The framework for seeding bold, large-scale innovative research with meaningful societal impact is part of the DNA of NSF. By harnessing the tremendous STEM talent that exists in every community, bolstering partnerships, and supercharging the synergy between “curiosity-driven, discovery-based exploratory research” and “use-inspired, solutions-focused, innovation,” NSF can unleash transformative breakthroughs into the future.
Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF is an $8.5B independent federal agency and the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and STEM education.

Dr. Panchanathan has a distinguished career in science, technology, engineering, and education that spans more than three decades. He served as executive vice president of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise, where he also founded the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing. Prior to becoming director of NSF, Panchanathan served on the National Science Board for six years and has also served on and chaired numerous high-level research and innovation organizations. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and other prestigious science and engineering organizations. Dr. Panchanathan’s scientific contributions have advanced the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces, person-centered ubiquitous computing technologies for empowering individuals with a range of abilities.