At the Vanguard

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan took the helm of the National Science Foundation last summer in the midst of the pandemic. As one of the nation’s most vital science institutions, NSF provides more than $8 billion annually for fundamental research and education. Panch spoke with Issues about his vision for the agency, keeping the United States at the forefront of global science, and diversity as a driver of innovation.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae

One of the three pillars of your vision for NSF is ensuring accessibility and inclusivity. What do you mean by that and how do you achieve it?

Panchanathan: In our nation right now, too many people are being left behind; they are not in a position to make fundamental contributions to make a better nation, a prosperous nation at the vanguard of global competitiveness…. It is our responsibility to create ecosystems that bring out that talent and those ideas in full force.


Read the full interview: “Talent and Ideas Are Democratized in the Sense That They Are Everywhere”