NSF’s Big Idea Initiative

Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: One of NSF’s Big Ideas for Future Investment

On May 4, 2017, CHAS was pleased to host Dr. Fay Lomax Cook for an invite-only event. Dr. Cook is the Assistant Director at the National Science Foundation, the Director for the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and a professor at Northwestern University.

Dr. Cook's presentation discussed the NSF's "Big Idea" initiative, focusing in particular on "Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Shaping the Future."  Per the NSF’s website, the goal is “to catalyze interest and investment in fundamental research, which is the basis for discovery, invention and innovation.”  The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) is taking the lead among the directorates, but other directorates are included as well (Computer Information Science Directorate[CISE]; Engineering Directorate; Education and Human Resources; and the Office of Integrative Affairs).  

pdf-512_0.png download the presentation 

About the Presenter

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Fay Lomax Cook is Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) where she has headed the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) since September 2014. SBE's mission is to promote the understanding of human behavior and social institutions and ways that economic, environmental, political, and social forces affect the lives of people from birth to old age and the ways that people affect these forces. She is on leave as a Professor at Northwestern University, where she is a Faculty Fellow of the Institute for Policy Research and a Professor of Human Development and Social Policy.

From 1996 to Fall 2012, she directed the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the interrelationships between public opinion and social policy, the politics of public policy, public deliberation, energy policy, and the dynamics of public and elite support for social programs, particularly programs for older Americans such Social Security. She is the author of many scholarly articles and book chapters as well as five books, including most recently Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America (University of Chicago Press).

She is past president of the Gerontological Society of America and an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. She serves as co-chair for the White House National Science and Technology Council's Social and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee of the Committee on Science.