Richard Dickinson to lead NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems

Photo of Richard Dickinson

Rich Dickinson begins his term as NSF division director for CBET

August 16, 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Richard B. Dickinson of the University of Florida, Gainesville, as division director of the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) in the Directorate for Engineering. Dickinson, who begins his NSF term today, is a professor in the University of Florida department of chemical engineering, where he served for eight years as department chair.

“NSF welcomes Dr. Dickinson’s ability to build support among colleagues and the community for visionary new directions,” says Dawn Tilbury, NSF assistant director for engineering. “He will use his deep knowledge and multidisciplinary experience to strengthen engineering collaborations and strategically advance the frontiers of CBET-funded research.”    

Dickinson has spent most of his career at the University of Florida (UF) devoted to teaching and research. As chair of the UF chemical engineering department, he secured support for an overhaul of the undergraduate laboratory, six new endowed faculty positions, and the construction of a new building. Before serving as the department’s chair, he was its director of graduate studies for five years. His excellence in the classroom was recognized with a UF Teacher-of-the-Year Award, the University’s highest honor for teaching.

Dickinson’s research makes connections between cell function and the physical and molecular properties of cells and their surroundings. For his research in cell motility, biomedical device-centered infections, and cell mechanics, Dickinson was named a UF Research Foundation Professor and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. He and his collaborators have published 65 research articles and 7 book chapters, and he has supervised or co-supervised 17 Ph.D. graduates.

Dickinson earned his B.S. at the University of Washington and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, both in chemical engineering. Prior to joining UF, he held a postdoctoral appointment in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin and was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow in theoretical biology at the University of Bonn in Germany.

Dickinson currently serves as associate editor of Chemical Engineering Education and is on the editorial board of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. He is an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Biomedical Engineering Society. 

The NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) in the Directorate for Engineering supports discoveries in chemical and biochemical systems; environmental engineering and sustainability; bioengineering and engineering healthcare; and fundamental transport, thermal and fluid phenomena.



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The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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