Colwell Honored by National Science Board with 2017 Vannevar Bush Award

Thu Apr 27, 2017

The National Science Board has named Rita Colwell, a Distinguished University Professor in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), as its 2017 recipient of the Vannevar Bush Award.

The award recognizes exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service in science, technology and policy.

In honoring Colwell as this year’s recipient, the science board noted her significant accomplishments as a scientist, educator and science administrator.

Colwell is an active member in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, one of 16 centers and labs in UMIACS. Technological innovations that can improve public health have played an important role in her career. She was the first scientist to write a computer program that could identify bacteria, and her groundbreaking use of computational tools to study biology helped establish the field of bioinformatics, a key area of scientific study today.

Colwell’s service includes numerous leadership positions. Besides serving as director (1998-2004) of the National Science Foundation, she has led the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society of Microbiology, the world’s largest single life science organization.

Colwell will accept the award on May 9 during the National Science Foundation’s annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Go here to read the full news release from the National Science Board.