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Photo of Arden Bement

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Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr.
National Science Foundation

Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., was National Science Foundation (NSF) Director from November 2004 to May 2010. The text reflects his biography at the time he was director.

He was sworn in as the 12th Director of NSF on November 24, 2004. He had served as Acting Director since February 22, 2004.

Dr. Bement heads the only federal agency that funds research and education in all fields of science and engineering. He directs a budget of more than $6 billion; hundreds of programs that support roughly 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators, and students across the country; and the development of world-class facilities and infrastructure. He oversees a robust international research program in the polar regions and several international partnerships to build sophisticated research and experimental facilities.

Since the White House launch of the American Competitiveness Initiative in 2006, he has overseen numerous initiatives that strengthen the U.S. innovation base and economic position and intensify the training of the U.S. workforce to operate in a high-tech global economy. His top priorities have included increasing the size and duration of NSF funding awards; implementing electronic proposal and grant processing at NSF; developing cyberinfrastructure that advances research and education through expanded capabilities for networking, data processing and storage, modeling, and simulation; and broadening international collaborations to leverage NSF investments. He has expanded NSF's centers of excellence program to encompass dozens of science and engineering disciplines partnering with industries and educators.

He serves as a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and as the vice-chair of the Commission's Natural Sciences and Engineering Committee. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Bement is an ex officio member of the U.S. National Science Board, which guides NSF activities and serves as a policy advisory body to the President and Congress. He was a member of the NSB from 1989 to 1995.

Prior to his confirmation as NSF director in November 2004, Dr. Bement served as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the Department of Commerce, a position he had held since Dec. 7, 2001. At NIST he oversaw an annual budget of about $773 million and an on-site research and administrative staff of 3,000 employees, complemented by a NIST-sponsored network of 2,000 locally managed manufacturing and business specialists serving smaller manufacturers across the United States.

He joined NIST from Purdue University, where he was the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering. He has held appointments at Purdue University in the schools of Nuclear Engineering, Materials Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as a courtesy appointment in the Krannert School of Management. He was director of the Midwest Superconductivity Consortium and the Consortium for the Intelligent Management of the Electrical Power Grid.

Dr. Bement joined the Purdue faculty in 1992 after a 39-year career in industry, government and academia. His positions included: vice president of technical resources and of science and technology for TRW Inc. (1980-1992); deputy under secretary of defense for research and engineering (1979-1980); director, Office of Materials Science, DARPA (1976-1979); professor of nuclear materials, MIT (1970-1976); manager, Fuels and Materials Department and the Metallurgy Research Department, Battelle Northwest Laboratories (1965-1970); and senior research associate, General Electric Co. (1954-1965). He has also been a director of Keithley Instruments Inc. and the Lord Corp. and a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee for the Howmet Corp., a division of ALCOA.

He has earned numerous awards and served in diverse government advisory roles, including: head of the NIST Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology; head of the advisory committee for NIST's Advanced Technology Program; member of the Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; chair of the Commission for Engineering and Technical Studies and the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Research Council; and member of the Space Station Utilization Advisory Subcommittee and the Commercialization and Technology Advisory Committee for NASA. He has consulted for the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

Dr. Bement holds an engineer of metallurgy degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a master's degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Idaho, a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from the University of Michigan, and honorary doctorates from Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, and the Colorado School of Mines, as well as a Chinese Academy of Sciences Graduate School Honorary Professorship. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal of the Department of Defense.