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New NSF Pick

France Anne Córdova, an astrophysicist, has been tapped by US President Barack Obama to lead the National Science Foundation, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Córdova currently leads the Smithsonian Regents, which governs the Smithsonian Institute, a position she took on as she neared the mandatory retirement age at Purdue University where she served as president.

Since Subra Suresh stepped down as NSF director in March to become president of Carnegie Mellon University, the agency has been run by an acting director, Cora Marrett.

Córdova now faces confirmation by the Senate, which typically is a simple process for potential NSF chiefs, but the Nature News Blog notes that Republican lawmakers have been taking their time to confirm other science agency picks chosen by the Obama administration.