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Staff Directory

Deborah J. Jackson

(703) 292-7499
E 14332
Program Director

Program Responsibilities:
Gen-3 Engineering Research Centers (ERC)
NSF-NIST Interaction in Basic and Applied Scientific Research in BIO, ENG & MPS (NSF-NIST)


Deborah J. Jackson received a bachelor's degree in Physics from MIT in 1974, followed by a PhD in Physics from Stanford University in 1980. Though her initial graduate training was in nonlinear optics, her research and development career spanned the full range of the electromagnetic phenomena from materials studies using hard x-ray wavelengths, to quantum computing at visible wavelengths, to the fielding of radio frequency instrumentation on deep space missions such as Cassini and Mars Observer.

Dr. Jackson is a hands-on professional with more than 20 years of broad based experience in research and development, project management, strategic planning, and product delivery. Currently at NSF, she leads the Microelectronics, Sensors, and Information Technologies Cluster within the Engineering Research Center's (ERC) Program office. In that capacity, she manages the ERC Industrial Liaison Officer's working group, whose purpose is to strategically develop the centers for optimal innovation and to speed the commercialization or utilization of the ERC's research findings and technology. It was this mission of translating discovery into innovative real-world applications that attracted her to the ERC program office. 

Before arriving at NSF, she held research appointments at the IBM Watson Research Laboratory, the Hughes Research Laboratory, the RAND Corporation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During part of her tenure at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she was the Cognizant Engineer for the Ultra Stable Oscillator and the Radio Frequency Instrument Subsystem, both on the Cassini Spacecraft, and the Ultra Stable Oscillator for the Mars Observer spacecraft. For all three subsystems, she delivered, integrated, and tested the flight hardware in preparation for their respective launches in 1997 and 1996.. She is also a Bell Laboratories Cooperative Research Fellow, a Ford Fellow, and a recently elected Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists, and a Senior Member of IEEE. She has also actively served on the following National Research Council Committees

  • NRC Board on Army Science and Technology, Committee on Electric Power for the Dismounted Soldier (1996-1997);
  • Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (1994-1998);
  • Committee on the Use of the international Space Station for Engineering Research and Technology development (1995)

Dr. Jackson has been an Invited Speaker representing NSF at the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation Centers of Excellence Forum (Seoul, Korea: 2008), an invited Lecturer at the African Laser Center's Summer School (Durban, South Africa: 2005), and was the Shell Lecturer at the 2005 National Science Teacher's Association Annual Meeting (Dallas, TX 2005).