Cheyenne, OK – Yesterday, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined Oklahoma State University (OSU) President Dr. Kayse Shrum and Vice President for Research Dr. Kenneth Sewell in hosting National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan for a tour of OSU research facilities, including the University’s newest unmanned systems research and mixed reality labs.

“I’m extremely proud of the work Oklahoma State University is doing to advance research and STEM education for the State and the nation.  It is an honor to have the opportunity spend the day with National Science Foundation Director, Dr. Panchanathan, on campus touring OSU’s cutting-edge research facilities and meeting some of the most talented researchers in the world,” said Congressman Lucas. “The NSF has supported a thriving environment for hands on research opportunities for students on the OSU campus, an innovative model for learning that is spurring research in mixed-reality, autonomous transportation, and more. Basic research is the cornerstone of America competitiveness, and the partnerships between NSF and OSU are shining examples of why America continues to lead the world in science and technology.”

Lucas, an OSU alumnus and staunch advocate for investing in research, is the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which has legislative jurisdiction over all NSF research.

In March, Lucas, along with House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), introduced the National Science Foundation for the Future Act. The legislation  increases the funding for more excellent research; advances research and development to address persistent challenges in STEM education across all education levels; addresses challenges for data access and accountability, as well as security threats that undermine the integrity of federally-funded research; and creates a new Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions (SES) that will enable the Foundation to take big risks and experiment with new approaches to accelerating the translation of science and technology into solutions to society’s major challenges.

In June, the NSF for the Future Act passed the House with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 345-67.

Speaking of the tour, Director Panchanathan said, “I am impressed with the innovation, talent and facilities I saw today at Oklahoma State University. Hearing from the amazing faculty and students about how they are using NSF funding to solve real world challenges and bring more people with diverse backgrounds into science is truly inspirational.”

The NSF supports basic research and education in non-medical sciences and engineering.  Federal research agencies, like the NSF, are the largest source of research funding across OSU.

“We are so pleased that Dr. Panchanathan and Rep. Lucas were able to visit our campus, dialogue with our faculty and students and discuss future directions for science and innovation,” said Dr. Kenneth Sewell, vice president for research. “OSU has several research initiatives with long term funding from NSF and we appreciate the director's acknowledgement and support of these programs. OSU looks forward to working with the NSF to continue producing life changing, impactful research.”

In July, Congressman Frank Lucas and Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05), who serves as Ranking Member of the Science Committee’s Environment Subcommittee, wrote in The Oklahoman about expanding Oklahoma’s research opportunities by making critical investments to improve STEM opportunities and research training at colleges like OSU. 

“It was a pleasure to experience all of this with Congressman Lucas, who is a strong champion for NSF and science overall. I look forward to seeing how we can continue to partner at speed and scale to benefit our nation for decades to come,” Panchanathan said.

During the visit, Congressman Lucas also sat down with Dr. Sewell to discuss research opportunities at OSU and how they impact our state. Watch their talk here.