Dr Rita Colwell was recently appointed to the board of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Colwell brings vast knowledge and experience to SFI, which will greatly enhance its task of creating a world-class research community in Ireland. Colwell is chairperson of Canon US Life Sciences and distinguished university professor both at University of Maryland at College Park and at Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University. Colwell was also former director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998-2004. During her term, she oversaw a significant increase in budget and a consolidation of the support levels provided to scientists and engineers with NSF grants. She also broadened the NSF range of programmes with special interaction in K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Colwell holds a BSc in bacteriology, an MS in genetics from Purdue University and a PhD in oceanography from Univesity of Washington. She also holds a number of honorary doctorates and serves on science advisory boards worldwide.
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