Staff Directory

Usha Varshney

Usha Varshney portrait
(703) 292-5385
(703) 292-9147
E 14453
Program Director

Program Responsibilities:
Addressing Systems Challenges through Engineering Teams (ASCENT)
Electronics, Photonics and Magnetic Devices (EPMD)
Semiconductor Synthetic Biology Circuits and Communications for Information Storage (SemiSynBio-III)


Dr. Usha Varshney is a Program Director for Electronics, Photonics and Magnetic Devices in the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) at the National Science Foundation, managing the interdisciplinary science and engineering research thrust areas for spin electronics, micro and nanomagnetic devices and circuits, bioelectronics, molecular electronics MEMS/NEMS and sensors.

From August 7, 2005 to August 6, 2008, she served as the Division Director of the Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) Division following her service as Acting Division Director for the Division of the Electrical and Communications Systems (ECS) from July 2, 2004 to August 6, 2005.

She joined the National Science Foundation in December 1997, as Program Director of Physical Foundations of Enabling Technologies, now known as the Electronics, Photonics and Device Technologies, and Integrative Systems programs, in ECS.  From October 2003 to June 2004, Dr. Varshney was a Legislative Fellow in the United States 108th Congress, and a ComSci Fellow in the Science and Technology Fellowship Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce, during which time she worked on Capitol Hill in processing and management of Senate legislative actions relating to Science, Nanotechnology and Space in the Office of Virginia Senator George Allen. She had a leadership role in the passage of Senate Bill S.189 on Nanotechnology signed into law (PL 108-153) by President Bush on December 3, 2003, and in the organization of the bipartisan and bicameral "Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus" established by Senator Allen on April 1, 2004.

From December 1997 to August 2003, as a Program Director in the Division of Electrical and Communications Systems, Dr. Varshney managed interdisciplinary science and engineering research thrust areas for micro/nanoelectronics, spin electronics, molecular electronics, flexible electronics, organic electronics and magnetics, micro/nanomagnetics, integrated solid state devices and circuits, and integrative systems.

Prior to joining the National Science Foundation, Dr. Varshney was Director of Research at American Research Corporation of Virginia from September 1995 -December 1997, where she directed the overall research program of the Corporation. From October 1987- August 1995 as Senior Research Scientist and Research Scientist, she was involved in a broad range of science and technology programs of national interest, including thin films and devices for monolithic magnetics for high-density power supplies, nonvolatile random access memories, uncooled focal plane arrays for night vision equipment, radiation-resistant photovoltaic devices, and wide band gap semiconductor devices. She has also held professional appointments at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Merrimac Magnetics, and Chronar Corporation.

Dr. Varshney received her Ph.D. degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, in 1983. She has authored or co-authored over seventy refereed papers, trade journal articles, conference papers, and technical reports. She is coeditor of three books and an inventor on seven patents.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the IEEE, and an Editorial Board member of the IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) for Engineering, Technology & Computing Portals (ETCP).  She is also an elected member of the Advisory Committee (AdCom) of the IEEE Magnetic Society, the IEEE Electron Devices Society's (EDS) liaison to the IEEE Women in Engineering Committee (WIEC) and a Life Member of IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS).  She has been an Associate Editor of the IEEE Sensors Journal from 2004-2008,   and a Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE-EDS from 2007- 2009.  She has also served as a member of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) Advisory Committee on Nanotechnology for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

While at the National Science Foundation, Dr. Varshney has promoted programs for the advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. She has also conducted World Technology Evaluations in Japan and Europe to determine U.S. competitiveness in research and development in cutting-edge technologies.  Dr. Varshney has participated in forums and seminars on science and technology policy issues, and has also been the recipient of a number of honors and awards, while in industry and at the National Science Foundation.