WASHINGTON, D.C. - President George Bush announced Thursday that Mark Abbott, an Oregon State University dean, has been nominated to the 24-member National Science Board, the governing body of the prestigious National Science Foundation.
In addition to overseeing the NSF, the board serves as an advisory group to both the president and Congress on policy issues related to science and engineering.
Abbott has been the dean of OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences since 2001 and a faculty member at the university since 1988. He is one of seven individuals being nominated by Bush to fill six-year terms on the board that will expire in 2012. The nominations must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
"It is quite an honor, for me and for OSU and the college," Abbott said. "The need for credible science to inform policy decisions is critical, and the president has proposed greatly increasing federal investment in research over the next decade - including that of the National Science Foundation - as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative."
Abbott is an internationally recognized biological oceanographer who has chaired committees for NASA and the National Academy of Sciences. As a researcher, he specializes in the use of satellites and remote sensing techniques for studying physical and biological processes in the world's oceans. He was the principal investigator on a 10-year, $15-million grant from NASA that allowed OSU to develop a computer network to help process and analyze oceanographic data gathered from satellites.
Earlier this week, Abbott was appointed by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski to co-chair a new Climate Change Integration Group designed to help Oregon address issues of global climate change. The 20-member group includes university and agency scientists, business leaders, environmental consultants and advocates, agriculture and forest leaders and others.
Abbott, 53, came to OSU in 1988 after spending six years as a member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Jolla, Calif. During that time, he was an adjunct faculty member at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
He is a 1974 graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, where he earned a B.S. in conservation of natural resources. He has a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California-Davis.
Abbott's nomination continues OSU's strong relationship with the National Science Board. One of the board's vacancies had been filled by its outgoing chairman, Warren Washington, a senior scientist and section head of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and an OSU alumnus. Washington, who served two terms as chairman, will receive an honorary doctorate and deliver the graduation speech at OSU's commencement this Sunday, June 18.
Jane Lubchenco, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology at OSU, just completed her service on the National Science Board.
"Today, the nation and the world are confronted with many questions about the possible impacts that human behavior is having on the environment," said U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley of Oregon in a statement submitted today to the Congressional Record. "We need to make sure that our policy decisions are based on science and not the other way around. With Mark Abbott and others like him serving on the National Science Board, I know that this will continue to be the case."
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