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K-State Today

February 29, 2016

Kansas State University faculty member selected for the National Science Foundation's Rotator program

By Rollie Clem

Rollie Clem, professor of biology, has been selected to serve at the National Science Foundation as a rotational program officer. He arrived at NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems on Jan. 11.

Clem will serve as program director in the physiological and structural systems cluster. As program director, he will direct the future of scientific research at the national level in his area of expertise. Part of his duties will be to direct projects relating to symbiosis and immune defense.

NSF offers a chance for scientists, engineers and educators to serve as temporary program directors, called rotators. Rotators make recommendations about which proposals to fund; influence new directions in the fields of science, engineering and education; support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research; and mentor junior research members. Rotators are in a prime position to collaborate with others and increase visibility while surveying the entire breadth of U.S. and international science, engineering and education in real time. In addition, rotators can retain ties to their current institution and return to it with new insights and experience.

Program directors oversee the National Science Foundation's "gold standard" merit review process and may help define new funding opportunities. Key responsibilities include interacting with potential principal investigators, forming and facilitating merit review panels, and recommending funding decisions. Program directors have the opportunity to be involved with a broad spectrum of national scientific programs and initiatives that ultimately increase intellectual awareness and enhance professional growth.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to make a larger impact on science and education at the national level," Clem said. "I am also excited to learn about the various NSF programs and to communicate that information to other faculty and trainees at K-State and elsewhere."