Dr. Thomas W. Peterson Delivers the Gregory Botsaris
Wednesday, April 27, 2011, Dr. Thomas W. Peterson, the Assistant Director of the
National Science Foundation for the Engineering Directorate presented the
Chemical and Biological Engineering department's Gregory Botsaris Lecture.
Dr. Peterson spoke on: Stimulating Innovation within the Academic Community
The National Science Foundation is the primary source of support for basic
research and education in science and engineering throughout the US academic
community. At NSF, the Directorate for Engineering has historically occupied a
unique and interesting space within the Foundation, and today is no different.
Like other directorates, most of ENG investments support basic research and
discovery. But a portion of the ENG portfolio of investments directly addresses
the important translation of the fruits of successful basic research into
products and processes of societal benefit. What can one federal agency (the
NSF) reasonably do to stimulate innovation and economic development through
strategic investments in our nation's colleges and universities?
Dr. Thomas W. Peterson is the Assistant Director of the National Science
Foundation, for the Engineering Directorate. Prior to joining NSF, he was Dean
of the College of Engineering at The University of Arizona. He received his B.S.
degree from Tufts University, M.S. from the University of Arizona, and Ph.D.
from the California Institute of Technology, all in Chemical Engineering. He has
served on the faculty of The University of Arizona since 1977, as head of the
Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department from 1990-1998, and as Dean
from 1998 until January 2009.
During his service as Dean, Dr. Peterson was a member of the Executive Board for
the Engineering Deans' Council of ASEE, and was Vice-Chair of EDC from
2007-2008. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Council for Chemical
Research, and on the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). He was one of the
founding members of the Global Engineering Deans' Council, and while at Arizona,
he made global education experiences a high priority for his engineering
students. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and a
recipient of the Kenneth T. Whitby Award from the American Association for
The Engineering Directorate at NSF provides critical support for the nation's
engineering research and education activities, and is a driving force behind the
education and development of the nation's engineering workforce. With a budget
of approximately $800 million, the directorate supports fundamental and
transformative research, the creation of cutting edge facilities and tools,
broad interdisciplinary collaborations, and through its Centers and Small
Business Innovation Research programs, enhances the competitiveness of U.S.
video of lecture >