The NSF Shake-Up

The federal agency is shuffling around its programs to streamline management and promote international scientific collaboration.

Sep 7, 2012
Elise Andrew

Fewer departments in the National Science Foundation (NSF) will report to Director Subra Suresh, the agency announced yesterday (September 6). The move is part of an overall reorganization aimed at reducing managerial burdens and encouraging collaborations around the world, ScienceInsider reported.

Under the current organization, all seven research and education directorates—through which the vast majority of the NSF's budget flow—each report directly to Suresh as do seven smaller programs. The reshuffle, which will take effect next month, will remove the offices of cyberinfrastructure and polar programs from the director's office and merge them with other units in the organization. Suresh will continue to directly oversee international activities, which will be joined with integrative activities to serve as NSF's new ideas shop and hopefully raise the profile of both activities.

According to the NSF's legislation and public relations representative Judith Gan, this reshuffle will allow Suresh to focus on interaction with other organizations, rather than dealing with day-to-day activities. However, the director still plans to play a hands-on role. “Reporting to the director and having access to the director" are not mutually exclusive, Gan told ScienceInsider.