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Innovation, Science Education, and the Enhancement of Americans' Quality of Life

Please note that an event start time will be available on this page soon. Registration will open closer to the date of the event.

At this event, the Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan, the 15th director of the National Science Foundation, will share insights from his career and work fostering policies that promote innovation to solve the grand challenges facing today’s society, bringing together science, technology and innovation to solve important national or global problems. A leader in science, engineering and education with more than three decades of experience in both higher education and government, Panchanathan has designed and built knowledge enterprises to advance research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development and economic growth. Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute, will deliver welcome remarks.

This event is part of the Civic Scientist Lecture Series, sponsored by the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program with generous support from Benjamin and Winifer Cheng. Additional support is provided by Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences.

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Please note that the start time for this event is to be determined. An agenda with the event start time will be available on this page soon.


This event is free, but registration is required. Registration will open closer to the event.

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Welcome Speaker

Neal F. Lane, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow in Science and Technology Policy, Baker Institute

Featured Speaker

The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan, Ph.D., is the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation. Panchanathan previously served as the executive vice president of the Arizona State University (ASU) Knowledge Enterprise, where he was also chief research and innovation officer. He is also the founder and former director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU.

Prior to joining NSF, Panchanathan served on the National Science Board as chair of the Committee on Strategy and as a member of the External Engagement and National Science and Engineering Policy committees. Additionally, he served on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was chair of the Council on Research of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and co-chair of the Extreme Innovation Taskforce of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. In 2018, Panchanathan was appointed Arizona’s senior advisor for science and technology.

Panchanathan’s scientific contributions have advanced the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces, person-centered tools and ubiquitous computing technologies for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with different abilities; machine learning for multimedia applications; medical image processing; and media processor designs. He has published close to 500 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and has received numerous awards, including Distinguished Alumnus awards and the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia Award for his development of information technology-centric assistive and rehabilitative environments to assist individuals with visual impairments.




Fri, Oct. 21, 2022
8 a.m. - 8 a.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005

Doré Commons