The National Science Board is honoring Oregon State University marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco with its 2018 Vannevar Bush Award.
The award recognizes “exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service in science, technology and public policy.”
Past winners include OSU alumnus Linus Pauling, a two-time Nobel laureate, and David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard.
Lubchenco, distinguished university professor at Oregon State and marine studies adviser to OSU President Ed Ray, is one of the world’s most highly cited ecologists. She served as an undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Lubchenco also served on the Obama administration’s Science Team and later as the State Department’s first science envoy for the ocean. In January 2017, she received the National Academy of Sciences’ most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal.
“Dr. Lubchenco is an amazing scientist whose brilliance and vision have long made her a global leader, and we’re thrilled to see her receive this much-deserved honor,” said Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research at Oregon State. “Her work has improved countless lives while also bridging the gap between scientists and the public.”
Lubchenco has co-founded three organizations that train scientists to better communicate with citizens and to more effectively engage with society: COMPASS, the Leopold Leadership Program, and Climate Central.
A MacArthur Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Lubchenco is the sixth woman to win the Vannevar Bush Award in the last 15 years. The first 18 winners of the award, and 24 of the first 25, were men.
“Jane Lubchenco is the quintessential champion of science and has made extraordinary research contributions to marine ecology and environmental science that are unparalleled, as is her service to Oregon State University and our students, our nation and of course our oceans,” said Roy Haggerty, dean of OSU’s College of Science. “She has strengthened the voice of science nationally and globally.”
The National Science Board presented Lubchenco with the award May 2 in Washington, D.C., during the National Science Foundation’s annual awards ceremony.
“I’m positively thrilled to receive the Vannevar Bush Award,” said Lubchenco. “It is humbling to be in the distinguished company of previous recipients, and also to have the chance to shine a spotlight on the increasingly important role that science plays in our lives. To me, science is all about hope – hope that we can work together to find solutions to our grand challenges.”
The NSB and the National Science Foundation director jointly head the NSF, an independent federal agency created by Congress to promote the progress of science and also to advance health, prosperity and welfare and to secure the national defense.
The National Science Board sets policy for the National Science Foundation and provides a biennial report to Congress on U.S. progress in science and technology. Members are presidential appointees selected for six-year terms based on their excellence in research and education.
Established in 1980, the Vannevar Bush Award is named after President Roosevelt’s science adviser during World War II. After the war, Bush was instrumental in the creation of the National Science Foundation; he died in 1974 at age 84.