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Obama nominates Indian American to a key science post

world Updated: Jun 04, 2010 13:25 IST
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Indian American technocrat Subra Suresh, an IIT graduate currently the dean of the MIT engineering school, has been tapped by the Obama administration for the post of Director of the National Science Foundation.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would be one of the highest ranking Indian-Americans ever to serve in an administration.

Suresh is currently Dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Obama administration's intent to appoint him to the key post was announced along with that of Maura Connelly, as Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon, and Daniel B Smith as Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic.

"I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to take on these important roles in my administration. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," Obama said in a statement.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by US Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..."

The agency is the funding source for approximately 20 per cent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.

Suresh, 53, studied at Indian Institute of Technology in Madras before earning his PhD at MIT in 1981. He served as the head of the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2000 to 2006, the White House said.

He joined MIT in 1993 as the R P Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and since then has held joint faculty appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering, as well as the Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

From 1983 to 1993, Suresh was a faculty member in the Division of Engineering at Brown University.

He has been elected to the US National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bangalore, the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World based in Trieste, Italy, and the German National Academy of Sciences.