Issue Date: February 16, 2004
Colwell Retires As Director Of Science Agency
Rita R. Colwell has announced that she will retire as director of NSF, effective Feb. 21. She will leave six months before the end of her six-year term at NSF to become chairman of Washington, D.C.-based Canon U.S. Life Sciences, a newly created subsidiary of Canon U.S.A.
Colwell, 69, a microbiologist and expert on cholera and other infectious diseases, will also hold faculty positions at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to lead NSF through two Administrations and major transformational change," Colwell said in a statement. During her tenure, she has helped raise the average grant size from $90,000 to $142,000. She has also supported interdisciplinary collaborations, increases in graduate student stipends, and more opportunities for women and minorities in science and engineering.
"Starting with a budget of about $3.4 billion, she is now arguing before Congress for an NSF budget of more than $5.7 billion," says Richard N. Zare, chemistry professor at Stanford University and chairman of the National Science Board from 1996 to 1998. "In addition, she should be given credit for making a number of key appointments."
National Institute of Standards & Technology Director Arden L. Bement Jr. is expected to be named acting director for the remainder of Colwell's term.
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