University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer has been sworn in to begin serving a six-year term on the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation. President Barack Obama nominated him for the position, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him earlier this year. The official swearing-in ceremony took place on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The NSF provides funding for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted in U.S. colleges and universities. It is the major source of funding in fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.
As UChicago president, Zimmer chairs the governing boards of Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He also serves on the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness.
Along with the NSF director, the board recommends national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering. The board oversees NSF’s operational and programmatic aspects, including its $7 billion annual budget. It also serves as an apolitical, independent body of advisers to the president and Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering.
The board consists of 25 members, which the president nominates and the Senate confirms. Drawn primarily from higher education, members serve six-year terms, with one-third of the board nominated every two years.