White House Selects Former Fed as NIST Leader


Laurie Locascio was tapped to be the Commerce Department’s next Undersecretary for Standards and Technology.

President Joe Biden nominated biomedical researcher and Maryland-based professor Laurie E. Locascio to steer the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Locascio was named as Biden’s pick to serve as the Commerce Department’s next Undersecretary for Standards and Technology, among a slew of other nominations Friday. She’s currently the vice president for research at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore—schools that collectively garner $1.1 billion yearly in external research funding. 

Prior to her latest work in academia, “Dr. Locascio had a long fruitful career as a researcher, innovator, and scientific leader” at NIST, White House officials wrote in the announcement

She spent almost three decades at the standards-setting agency and held a range of roles there. Her last was as NIST’s Acting Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Laboratory Programs. In that capacity, Locascio oversaw internal scientific research and laboratory efforts spanning NIST’s campuses in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Boulder, Colorado. 

She’s also published more than 100 scientific papers and 11 patents.

Walter Copan, former NIST Director and Commerce Undersecretary for Standards and Technology, said Locascio’s character and background “have prepared her ideally for this role.” In a post online, Copan called her “an inventor and champion for innovation,” and “a true friend of technology transfer.” 

The position requires Senate confirmation.