Historian Myron Gutmann to head NSF’s Social, Behavioral & Economics Directorate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected University of Michigan historian Myron Gutmann, director of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, to head its directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). The directorate supports research that builds fundamental knowledge of human behavior, interaction, social and economic systems, and organizations and institutions.

Gutmann, who specializes in historical demography and population-environment relationships with a focus on Europe and the Americas, begins his position on Nov. 2, 2009.

Gutmann has a broad range of interests in interdisciplinary historical population studies, especially relating population to agricultural, the environment, and health. He also studies ways that digital materials can be properly preserved and shared, and how the confidentiality of research subjects can be protected when data about them is made available for secondary use.

He is an expert on historical demography and the social, demographic and economic history of Europe and the Americas. His current research focuses on the relationship between population and environment in the Great Plains of the U.S., and on the history of the U.S. Hispanic population.

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.92 billion. Three office areas make up SBE: the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences; the Division of Social and Economic Sciences; and the Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS), the nation’s primary source of data on the science and engineering enterprise.