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Tim Killeen tapped to lead NSF GEO


tim killeen

Tim Killeen. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

NCAR director Timothy Killeen has been selected as NSF assistant director for geosciences. Killeen will assume his new post on 1 July, succeeding Jarvis Moyers and Margaret Leinen.

“Tim Killeen’s vision for the geosciences will be invaluable in guiding NSF during this renaissance period for addressing the scientific challenges facing Earth,” says NSF director Arden Bement. “We couldn’t be more pleased.”

In his new role, Killeen will oversee the Geoscience Directorate (GEO), which has a fiscal year 2008 budget of $752 million. GEO funds basic research into the global environment, including climate processes and changes, the water cycle, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and severe storms.

Killeen, who is currently president of the American Geophysical Union, has held leadership roles in the geosciences for many years, including chairing numerous national committees and advisory panels. Prior to his appointment as NCAR director in 2000, Killeen was professor of atmospheric, oceanic, and space sciences; associate vice president for research; and director of the Space Physics Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan. He holds a doctorate in atomic and molecular physics from University College London. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Killeen has conducted research on satellite measurements and modeling of the upper atmosphere.

During Killeen’s eight-year tenure at NCAR, the center created a new structure of labs and institutes, bolstered its roster of young scientists, deployed major new observing and computing facilities, developed several integrative scientific initiatives, and played a leadership role in the 2007 assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“In his new capacity, Tim will be able to guide the broader community with the same energy and forward thinking that he has brought to NCAR for the past eight years,” says UCAR president Richard Anthes. “While we are sorry to be losing him, we will all benefit from his leadership at NSF.”

Killeen remarked, “This is a critically important time for the geosciences, and I’m excited and pleased to become a part of the NSF leadership team as we move ahead in analyzing and solving problems of global importance. I hope to bring some of my experiences from leadership of NCAR to a national stage, including our emphases on basic research in the geosciences, human capital development, integrative and interdisciplinary science, robust facility provision, community-based cyberinfrastructure support, and societal impacts research.”

Killeen’s initial two-year appointment will be administered through the NSF Intergovernmental Personnel Act program, with Killeen remaining a UCAR employee. He will follow NSF’s conflict-of-interest and ethics rules which, among other things, will require him to recuse himself from any funding decisions involving UCAR and NCAR programs and activities.

At press time UCAR was organizing a search committee for a new NCAR director. An open, international search will be conducted, with an expected soft deadline close to 1 May. Kathy Strand will coordinate the process for the UCAR president’s office, along with Robert Roesch (UCAR Human Resources). More information


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