NSB Statement

Statement on the passing of former National Science Board member James Jackson

James Jackson at National Science Board Meeting

James Jackson (Credit and Larger Version)

September 3, 2020

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and former National Science Board (NSB) colleague, James Jackson, who passed away on September 1st after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  James was a scientific giant, who in his long and rich career truly broke new ground at the frontiers of research in the social sciences, health, and medicine.  His pioneering work to illuminate the impact of race and culture on the life experiences and development of Black Americans, including the founding of the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, “[gave] voice to a heretofore largely voiceless Black America.” He was a mentor to many, and was always passionate about supporting young researchers pursuing basic, discovery science.

James was a wonderful and wise contributor to the NSB and to NSF.  As fellow Board members, we greatly valued the insight, deep intellect, and erudition he brought to all aspects of our work.  As his colleagues and friends, we benefited from his generosity, humanity, and fierce grace.  We are the better for him having been among us and the less for the loss of his presence, but we know his legacy will live on through his tremendous scientific contributions and his profound influence on generations of scholars to come.

Ellen Ochoa, NSB Chair

Victor McCrary, NSB Vice Chair

On behalf of the National Science Board


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 2020 budget of $8.3 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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