President Emeritus James Duderstadt will receive the National Science Board’s prestigious Vannevar Bush Award.
The board’s announcement Thursday says Duderstadt is being recognized for his leadership in science and technology, and his substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service activities in science, technology and public policy.
The NSB is the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.
Duderstadt, president from 1988-96, is a professor of science and engineering at U-M.
“James Duderstadt has dedicated his career to innovations in STEM research and education and to strengthening the nation’s science and technology policy,” said Dr. Vint Cerf, Chair of the NSB’s Committee on Honorary Awards.
“Whether as president of a major public research university or serving on National Research Council committees, his dedicated, thoughtful, and collegial approach to tackling multi-faceted problems exemplifies leadership and has resulted in numerous significant contributions to the public welfare.”
At the national level, Duderstadt has chaired numerous studies concerning American science, technology, and education policy for the National Academies and various federal agencies in areas including engineering research, nuclear energy, information technology, higher education and national science policy.
During his decade of service as both member and chair of the NSB, he played an influential role in setting strategic directions for the NSF. He currently chairs the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academies, where he coordinates a broad range of science and technology policy studies at both the national and international level.
Duderstadt has also contributed significantly to the national interest as a leader of American higher education over the past four decades.
As engineering dean during a time of tight state budgets, he created a new, modern engineering campus by combining public and private funding sources. He stimulated the introduction of digital and online technologies in research and education, including the creation of NSFnet, the precursor to the Internet.
As provost and president of U-M, Duderstadt fostered the university’s leadership in research, and spearheaded university-industry-government collaborations. One of his most important legacies was the development of effective strategies for diversifying the students, faculty and leadership of American higher education.
Duderstadt obtained his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Yale University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in engineering science and physics from the California Institute of Technology.
Duderstadt began his career as a faculty member in nuclear engineering at U-M, rising to dean of the College of Engineering, provost and, ultimately, president.
He has authored dozens of books and hundreds of articles on subjects that span engineering, science and higher education. Among his many accolades are awards from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Action Commission for Minorities in Engineering, and the American Council on Education.
Duderstadt received the National Medal of Technology from President George H. W. Bush, was recognized as National Engineer of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers, received the E.O. Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Arthur Holly Compton Prize and the Mark Mills Award from the American Nuclear Society.
“It is a great honor to receive this award named for Vannevar Bush, who defined the role of the American university in serving the needs of this nation through science and technology, a mission that has guided my own career as both a scientist and a university leader,” Duderstadt said.
The NSB will present Duderstadt with the Vannevar Bush Award on May 5, during the NSF/NSB Annual Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. He also will give a presentation at NSF in Arlington, Virginia, on May 6, which will be viewable via a live webcast on the NSB website.
The NSB initiated the Vannevar Bush Award in 1980 in memory of Vannevar Bush, who helped establish federal funding for science and engineering as a national priority and played a pivotal role in the creation of the National Science Foundation.