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Media Advisory 12-014

National Research Council Sustainability Symposium Features National Science Foundation Leaders

NSF-sponsored "Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability" event to take place May 16-18

Photo of a Cape sugarbird resting on a protea flower.

A Cape sugarbird rests on a protea flower in Kirstenbosch Gardens, South Africa.

May 9, 2012

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

How far, and in what ways, can Earth's systems be stressed before they undergo transitions to new states--with unforeseen consequences?

Sustainability has become a major focus for federal, state, and local government agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations.

A National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored National Research Council symposium will showcase federal investments and institutional structures for sustainability, and identify opportunities to help promote practices that would lead communities toward sustainability.

Subra Suresh, director of NSF, will deliver a keynote address, and Cora Marrett, NSF deputy director, will moderate a panel discussion as part of a session on creating partnerships for sustainability science and action. Also speaking at the event will be Tim Killeen, NSF assistant director for geosciences, and John Wingfield, NSF assistant director for biological sciences.

The symposium will highlight science and technology research contributions to sustainability goals; identify practices that encourage communities toward more sustainable decisions; and present international, national and local case studies that examine how science is being used for decision-making toward sustainability.

The symposium is an outgrowth of the NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) investment.

SEES activities span the range of scientific domains at NSF. Their goal is to support interdisciplinary research and education that will move us toward global sustainability; build links among existing projects and partners, and add new participants, in sustainability research; and develop a workforce trained in the interdisciplinary fields needed to understand and address the complex issues of sustainability.

Who:Scientists, engineers and educators affiliated with universities, industry, non-governmental organizations, and federal agencies will address new ways of leading communities toward sustainability

What:Symposium on Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability

When:The symposium will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 16th, and Thursday, May 17th, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, May 18th

Where:The Pew D.C. Conference Center, 901 E St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

Detailed Agenda:For a complete agenda or to register for the webcast, please visit the National Academies of Sciences website.

Those who cannot attend may watch the symposium via live webcast.

Seating is limited; journalists who wish to attend the symposium or reception must register in advance with the National Academy of Sciences Office of News and Public Information at 202-334-2138 or


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-7734, email:

Program Contacts
Jessica Robin, NSF Co-Chair, SEES Implementation Group, (703) 292-8500, email:
Ben van der Pluijm, NSF Co-Chair, SEES Implementation Group, (703) 292-7856, email:
Nancy Grimm, NSF Chair, Sustainability Symposium Working Group, (703) 292-5377, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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