How would Trump overhaul the NSF? We asked his top appointee.

By Corbin Hiar | 06/10/2024 06:31 AM EDT

The National Science Foundation has been targeted by conservatives. But the agency’s director, who was selected by Trump, has other ideas.

Sethuraman Panchanathan speaks into a microphone on Capitol Hill.

Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the National Science Foundation, testifies before a House committee last year. Mariam Zuhaib/AP

The leader of the National Science Foundation is confident that Donald Trump would allow the independent agency to continue pursuing climate solutions if he’s elected to a second term in November.

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan might have an insider’s grasp about what resonates with the former president, who has openly denied the existence of climate change. He was nominated by Trump in 2019 and confirmed by the Senate in 2020 for a term that runs into 2026.

“Would you rather have technologies for climate invented here — designed here, developed here, deployed here — or anywhere else?” Panchanathan said in an interview last week. “The Googles of climate should be in the United States.”


But some top conservatives have different plans for NSF, a $9 billion agency that in the 1990s helped spur the creation of .