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France Córdova Takes Top Spot at NSF

The US Senate confirmed last night France Córdova as the new director of the National Science Foundation, ScienceInsider reports. She was nominated for a six-year term.

Córdova, the Nature News Blog notes, was most recently the chair of the board of regents that oversees the Smithsonian Institution and a member of the National Science Board that oversees NSF.

President Obama nominated Córdova, an astrophysicist, to run the agency over the summer after Subra Suresh stepped down from the post last March to become president of Carnegie Mellon University. In the interim, Cora Marrett has been the acting director of NSF; she will remain the deputy NSF director, ScienceInsider notes.

Córdova tells Nature that there needs to be better communication from NSF about the basic research it supports. "We have to better explain why we do what we do,” she says.