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Dr. Thomas W. Peterson Delivers the Gregory Botsaris Lecture

On 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?

Speaker Bio:
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 Aerosol Research.

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. companies.
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