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Indian American scientific leader wins lifetime achievement award

The Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce this month awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to National Science Foundation director Sethuraman Panchanathan.

The Mirage reported he received the award at the Chamber’s annual gala to honor inspirational Asian leaders.

Panchanathan is senior vice president at Arizona State University’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. One of his focuses is to enhancing quality of life for individuals with disabilities, according to the NSF. He has served as director of the organization since 2020. He was born and raised in Chennai, India.

 “Teamwork and diversity – diversity in every form, diversity of thought, experiences, backgrounds and ethnicities – are critical to driving scalable impacts and progress,” he said during a Q & A discussion following his award presentation. “When you bring together diverse points of view you have more creative ideas and solutions, which is why ‘accessibility’ and ‘inclusivity’ are integral to NSF’s three-pillared vision.”

He pointed to several diversity initiatives at NSF and highlighted its importance.

“Illuminating pathways that harness the breadth of this nation’s talent and growing innovation ecosystems that promote equity and teaming is how the U.S. will remain at the forefront of science, technology and innovation for decades to come,” said Panchanathan. “Let us recommit ourselves to ensuring that we are fostering and creating opportunities that are available everywhere, for everyone. Only then can we truly unleash our country’s true potential to ensure a brighter, better future for all.”

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