Obama's top Indian-American science aide quits

Washington, Feb 6 (IANS) Subra Suresh, President Barack Obama's top Indian-American science official, has resigned as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to become the president of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Obama appointed Suresh in 2010 as head of NSF, a $7 billion independent federal science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education.

"Subra has shown himself to be a consummate scientist and engineer - beholden to evidence and committed to upholding the highest scientific standards," Obama said accepting Suresh's resignation

"He has also done his part to make sure the American people benefit from advances in technology, and opened up more opportunities for women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups,".

"We have been very fortunate to have Subra Suresh guiding the National Science Foundation for the last two years," Obama stated. "I am grateful for his service."

Previously, Suresh served as dean of the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2007 to 2010 and has been on leave as the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at MIT while serving as NSF Director.

In a note to his staff, Suresh said NSF "is blessed with a marvellous cohort of highly talented and devoted staff, as well as hundreds of thousands of innovative grantees and investigators from every field of science and engineering."

Carnegie Mellon University announced Tuesday that Suresh will be its ninth president. He succeeds Jared Cohon, who is stepping down after 16 years as president.

"The extraordinary ability of the CMU faculty and students in bringing together cutting-edge research and education across multiple disciplines positions CMU uniquely to address national and global challenges," said Suresh.

"I am very happy for Professor Suresh and for Carnegie Mellon," said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. "Professor Suresh will bring Carnegie Mellon exceptional experience and a proven ability to get important things done."

Thanking Suresh for his outstanding service, John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, said: "Subra has made critical contributions to a broad range of science and technology priorities."

These included "expanding federal investments in fundamental research, accelerating the commercialisation of university research, and strengthening our scientific collaborations with partners around the world.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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