Dr. Nathaniel G. Pitts retired from National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2008 after 30 years of service. He served as the first Director of the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) for over 10 years where he was responsible for overseeing and coordinating cross-Foundational activities surrounding: 1) the NSF supported Science and Technology Centers; 2) the Congressionally mandated Major Research Instrumentation Program; 3) the NSF Merit Review Process; 4) the Committee of Visitors Process; 5) the Government Performance Results Act implementation; 6) the Congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering (CEOSE); and 7) The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
He also served on the Director’s Policy Group, the Senior Management Integration Group, and has made numerous presentations to the National Science Board while representing the NSF Director. He also represented the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP).
After joining the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1977 as a neuroscience program officer, Dr. Pitts had the opportunity to develop and direct numerous neuroscience programs. He served as Neuroscience Section Head, as Deputy Director of the Behavioral and Neural Science Division (BNS), and as temporary Acting Director of BNS.
He was detailed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a health science administrator for a year while overseeing neuroscience programs associated with nervous system disorders. He worked for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, while preparing science and math education legislation.
He also served on numerous intra-agency and inter-agency working groups including the (NSF’s) Director’s Action Review Board, Inter-agency Working Group on Spinal Cord and Brain Injury, and the White House Committee on the Decade of the Brain. He became the first Director of the Office of Science and Technology Infrastructure in 1991, an Office of the NSF Director. He chaired the subcommittee on Academic Research Infrastructure for the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC-1994) and chaired a Working Group for the Research Business Models Subcommittee for the NSTC (2003). He has chaired various intra-agency working groups such as the Working Group on Cognitive Science and the new program manager’s seminar on cross-directorate activities. In addition, he served as Special Assistant to the Director of NSF (1991-1992).
Dr. Pitts speaks both nationally and internationally on various issues concerning science and technology policy including: research infrastructure; human resource development; technology transfer; the integration of research and education; and the evaluation of the U.S. basic research enterprise. In this regard, he has served at a U.S. delegate to APEC (2004) addressing international science policy issues and has addressed European Union committees (2001) on related matters. Presently, he is serving on various boards and assisting the Canadian government on science and technology issues.
Dr. Pitts has won numerous awards while serving as a civil servant, twice winning the Presidential Rank Award for Senior Executives.
Prior to joining NSF, Dr. Pitts was on the faculty of the Rockefeller University where he researched both sensory and motor spinal pathways of the central nervous system. He received his B.S Degree in biology/chemistry from Whittier College and his Ph.D. degree in neurophysiology from the University of California at Davis.