Monday, July 1, 2013

OU Professor to Serve as NSF Program Director

NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma chemical engineering professor Dimitrios Papavassiliou has been selected to serve as a National Science Foundation program director for the Fluid Dynamics Program. Papavassiliou will help establish the organization’s research policy in fluid dynamics as well as be involved in NSF initiatives that affect research directions in engineering and sciences more broadly. 

“Being selected as an NSF program director is a reflection of national recognition and an indication of trust by the scientific community to lead research at a national level,” said Thomas Landers, OU College of Engineering dean. “It’s important to select a person who is well-respected in their field since their decisions can affect the direction of federal funding for research as well as the career path of young faculty and students for several years.”

As an NSF program director, Papavassiliou will manage the NSF research portfolio in fluid dynamics, which is a research area in mechanical, chemical, aerospace, civil, petroleum and environmental engineering, applied mathematics, physics, and meteorology.  The position includes setting research priorities at the national level, soliciting proposals and organizing their peer review, funding these proposals, and monitoring progress of already funded projects.  Program directors, called rotators, traditionally serve two to three years and oversee a typical annual program budget of $7 million to 9 million.

Papavassiliou’s goal as NSF program director is to expand fluid dynamics research in multiple fields, particularly at the nano- and micro-scales, in life and biology, atmosphere, oceans and the subsurface.

“Fluid dynamics has been around for hundreds of years, going back to Leonardo Da Vinci, but there are important problems today that need and can be addressed with modern fluid dynamics experiments and computations,” said Papavassiliou.

“I would like to stir the community to become more extroverted, to not only take over projects of significance to our lives, but to also publicize their work to more visible outlets, engaging the public and young scientists to pursue a career in fluid mechanics,” said Papavassiliou.

Papavassiliou is a Presidential Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering at OU. He received his bachelor’s degree from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined OU in 1999, after working with Mobil's Upstream Strategic Research Center in Dallas, Texas. He has co-authored more than 80 journal articles and presented his work in more than 130 conferences. He is actively involved in the American institute of Chemical Engineers, including the AIChE Journal Consulting Editorial Board.