Astrophysicist Edward Seidel Named Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation

MOSCOW, Russia —The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology announced today that Professor Edward Seidel has been appointed Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation and will also be a Professor at the Institute.

A distinguished researcher and international leader in scientific computing and astrophysics, Seidel comes to Skolkovo Tech from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). At the Foundation, he served as the NSF Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS). With Skolkovo Tech, he will help build research capacity, guide its strategic focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, establish international partnerships, direct the development of 21st century research facilities and programs, and oversee quality and compliance.

In announcing the appointment, President Edward Crawley said, “Ed is a unique asset for Skolkovo Tech. With his interdisciplinary research expertise, international experience, and knowledge of supporting and creating research programs in many areas of science and engineering, he brings a wide variety of skills that are critical to the development of our institution.”
Skolkovo Tech has previously announced plans to fund up to 15 international research centers to address scientific and technological challenges. The university is developing research programs in the fields of Biomedical Science and Technology, Energy Science and Technology, Information Science and Technology, Nuclear Science and Technology, and Space Science and Technology.

According to Seidel“The culture and conduct of research and education, and their critical role in innovation and economic development, are undergoing profound and rapid change as traditional disciplines are merging, new ones are emerging, and all are transformed by advances in computational and data-intensive science. This is a special opportunity to grow a new, world-class research program, with innovation at its core, and join the outstanding team at Skolkovo Tech.”

At NSF, a USD$7 billion US federal agency that supports research and education activities across all areas of science and engineering, Seidel led the MPS Directorate, with an annual budget of more than USD$1.4 billion, overseeing national programs in Astronomy, Chemistry, Materials Science, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics. Prior to his leadership of MPS, he directed the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure, which is responsible for US national programs supporting advanced computing environments, software, computer networking, and their application for addressing complex problems in science and engineering. He was responsible for launching new programs in computational and data-intensive science and engineering (CDS&E) and the NSF-wide Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21). At NSF he also led emerging activities on data, public access to publications, and catalyzed development of interdisciplinary research programs, including the development of grand challenge programs to attack complex problems in science and engineering.

Seidel has played central roles in launching international and regional research consortiums in Europe and the U.S., including the EU Astrophysics Network and GridLab projects which collectively involved a dozen countries. He also had an integral part in the USD$50-million Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, connecting six research universities and two medical schools across the state of Louisiana.

Seidel’s work in general relativity and scientific computing is widely cited in scientific literature. His research has focused on Einstein’s equations, applications to black holes and gravitational waves, and algorithms for high performance computing. Seidel was elected by peers as a lifetime fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific organization, and the American Physical Society. For his work in scientific computing, he is a recipient of the 1998 Heinz Billing Prize of the Max Planck Society, 2001 Gordon Bell Prize, and received the 2006 Sidney Fernbach Award of the IEEE.
Prior to joining NSF, he held senior appointments as Floating Point Systems Professor in Physics & Astronomy, and Computer Science at Louisiana State University, where he founded and directed the interdisciplinary Center for Computation & Technology, a new interdisciplinary research and innovation center involving more than four dozen faculty across the entire university, the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany, and the University of Illinois. He earned a doctorate from Yale University in relativistic astrophysics, a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.
Seidel’s appointment caps a year of growth at Skolkovo Tech, which will mark its first anniversary in October.

The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skolkovo Tech) is a private graduate research university in Skolkovo, Russia, a suburb of Moscow. Established in 2011 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Skolkovo Tech educates coming generations of researchers and entrepreneurs, advances scientific knowledge, and fosters technological innovation to address critical issues facing Russia and the world. Applying international research and educational models, the university integrates Russian scientific traditions with twenty-first century entrepreneurship and innovation.

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