Mark Abbott to Remain at Oregon State University
Mark Abbott, dean of the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University who was scheduled to become the National Science Foundation's (NSF) assistant director for the Geosciences Directorate (GEO) this fall, has decided not to pursue the GEO position at the agency and will remain at OSU.
Abbott, who presently serves on the National Science Board, was due to become the assistant director of GEO in October. Following a review by the Office of General Counsel of applicable conflicts-of-interest if he were to assume the full-time position (given that he would retain his OSU position during his appointment), Abbott and NSF officials concluded that the conflicts rules would significantly restrict his ability to manage GEO's portfolio of programs and activities, and limit his effectiveness for both the agency and the geosciences research community. For this reason, Dr. Abbott and NSF mutually agreed not to pursue the appointment.
Abbott has been an OSU dean since 2001, and a member of the National Science Board since 2006. He is a co-chair of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's Climate Change Integration Group, and a member of the board of trustees of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. His research focuses on the interaction of biological and physical processes in the upper ocean, and relies on both remote sensing and field observations. Abbott is a pioneer in the use of satellite ocean color data to study coupled biological and physical processes.
Abbott will continue to serve on the National Science Board and work with NSF leadership on issues of importance to the oceanic and atmospheric science community. NSF intends to work rapidly to fill the GEO position.
GEO, with a fiscal year 2007 budget of $744.85 million, funds basic research that contributes to a better understanding of the processes that affect the global environment, such as the role of the atmosphere and oceans in climate, Earth's water cycle, and the importance of natural variability and the effects of increased greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Better prediction and understanding of natural environmental hazards such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis is also a GEO focus.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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