NSF Chemistry Division Director Luis Echegoyen announced a proposed sweeping realignment of the division’s chemistry programs at the foundation’s ACS Town Hall meeting on Monday evening in Salt Lake City. During the Q&A that followed Echegoyen’s presentation, all anyone wanted to ask about was the $3 billion NSF will receive as part of the Obama Administration’s economic stimulus package.
“Most of what I am at liberty to talk about on the stimulus, you already know,” Echegoyen told the packed house at the outset of his presentation.
Didn’t matter. The first question Echegoyen took after his presentation was, “Will the stimulus allow anything that has been canceled to be revived?” Six or seven more questions on the stimulus followed. Before he adjourned the session, Echegoyen asked, “Does anyone have anything to say about the realignment?” No one seemed to.
The goal of the proposed changes, Echegoyen said in his presentation, is to realign the chemistry division “to guarantee that the very best projects in research, education, training, and infrastructure development are supported and to anticipate and respond to new developments in chemistry.”
The new structure would abandon the traditional program delineations such as the “Organic and Macromolecular Program” and the “Physical Chemistry Program.” In their place would be eight new programs in the following areas:
- Chemical Synthesis
- Chemical Structure, Dynamics & Mechanisms
- Chemical Measurement & Imaging
- Theory, Models & Computational Methods
- Environmental Chemical Sciences
- Chemistry of Life Processes
- Chemical Catalysis
“This represents a substantial departure from the current structure,” Echegoyen noted, adding that the only word that survives from the old structure to the new is “theory.”
The Chemistry Division handed out a nifty brochure that describes each of the proposed new programs. It doesn’t look like it is available yet on the division’s website, but I’m sure someone will send you one if you ask. You can submit comments about the proposed realignment to .
Photo: Madeleine Jacobs (left), Ronald Breslow (center), and Luis Echegoyen at the ACS Town Hall meeting. Credit: Rudy Baum/C&EN
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