World-renowned Purdue scientist, policymaker impact on students, faculty continues

May 8, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Arden L. Bement Jr., former director of the National Science Foundation and inaugural director of Purdue University's Global Policy Research Institute, has been honored with a new fellow program and energy fund in his name.

"Dr. Bement's oversight and vision for Purdue's new institute leaves us well-prepared for continuing our work of promoting Purdue research to resolve complex global issues and training the next generation of students to be uniquely positioned to enter the global workplace, make a difference and achieve great impact," said Dennis Depew, the institute's interim director. "Through these new programs, Purdue can continue to benefit from Dr. Bement's legacy."

The Arden L. Bement Jr. Global Policy Research Institute Fellow program will fund ongoing policy research and education activities by either supporting a Purdue researcher or bringing distinguished thought leaders, scholars and postdoctoral students to the institute. The fellows will be able to engage in local, state, regional, national and international research and teaching opportunities during their appointment. The Dr. Arden Bement Sustainable Energy Fund is to support research in the area of energy and sustainability. Both funds were announced at the Arden Bement Legacy Dinner on April 9.

"I am honored by the establishment of these funds," said Bement, the institute's director emeritus. "This will enable GPRI initiatives to continue moving forward."

Bement, the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering, retired from Purdue in December 2012, after he helped launch the new Global Policy Research Institute in June 2010. The institute focuses on the university's strengths in science, information technology, data management and systems engineering in collaboration with economics and the social sciences to inform policymakers about critical issues such as poverty and climate change.

During his six-year term as NSF director from 2004-2010, he oversaw the foundation's annual budget of more than $7 billion that supports the research and education of roughly 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students across the United States. As part of the White House's American Competitiveness Initiative in 2006, he guided initiatives that supported the training of the U.S. workforce to operate in a high-tech global economy.

He joined the Purdue faculty in 1992 after a 39-year career in industry, government and academia. From 1989-1995, Bement also served on the National Science Board, the 24-member policy body for NSF and adviser to the president and Congress on science and engineering issues. He also was head of Purdue's School of Nuclear Engineering and also held appointments in the School of Materials Engineering and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The institute has awarded more than half a million dollars in incentive awards through a merit review process to Purdue-led research projects that address critical national needs and offers Purdue's research strengths to inform discussions among thought leaders on topics such as food security, renewable energy, health issues and disaster recovery.

"This investment funding, much like venture capital, has allowed these teams to better refine their research proposals for submission to major funding agencies and foundations," Depew said. "The outcome to date is that Purdue teams have received external awards of over $5 million that they attribute to institute investment."

These incentive award grants also serve as an opportunity for graduate students to work on interdisciplinary teams to address problems with local, regional, national and global impact. Through all the incentive award initiatives, the Global Policy Research Institute has supported approximately 36 graduate students in furthering their research and learning.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Dennis Depew, 765-496-3844,

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