NSF director: Northeastern ‘is well ahead of the curve’

National Science Foundation Director France A. Cordova delivers the keynote address at Monday’s ISEC grand opening. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

In her keynote address at Monday’s grand opening of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, National Science Foundation Director France A. Córdova describes the facility as “a hub of scholarship and teaching that will significantly advance Northeastern’s mission as a use-inspired research university,” and welcomes it to the “nation’s growing ecosystem of innovation incubators.”

She would know. As shepherd of a $7.5 billion federal agency that supports research, technological innovation, and education across the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, Córdova is at the fore of scientific research across the U.S.

A key tenant of the NSF’s work—past, present, and future—is “convergence,” Córdova says, a process and hallmark she defines as merging “strengths to create something unique, something more resilient.”

Further, characteristics of convergence that Córdova urges NSF researchers to keep center to their work are “integration across disciplines” and “research driven by compelling problems,” she says.

“They’re descriptors that reflect the concept behind this complex,” she says, standing in the airy, light-filled atrium of ISEC, “and in that sense, Northeastern University is well ahead of the curve.”

She adds: “Like Northeastern, the NSF sees great merit in breaking down barriers between disciplines. This morning I was looking at all the glass, all the windows in this facility and I thought, ‘this is the true definition of transparency.’”

Córdova closes her remarks by emphasizing the importance of continued, sustained federal funding for science and research broadly.

“More than ever, the future of our society depends on sustained investments in science and technology,” she says. “It’s time to nurture a mutually supportive environment that will empower researchers everywhere.”