AAAS Selects Innovator in Industry to Join its Board of Directors

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Earlier this year, William Provine opened the Delaware Innovation Space, a 100,000-square-foot research facility designed to spur science-based innovations and grow new businesses. | Robert Russel/Showorks Audio-Visual

The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Board of Directors unanimously appointed innovation leader William D. Provine as one of its directors for a three-year term to begin October 12.

Provine is president of DuPont/Delaware Innovation Space, a public-private partnership he helped found that brought together what is now DowDuPont, the University of Delaware and the state of Delaware to create an innovation hub dedicated to building science-based entrepreneurial businesses. Last week, DuPont formalized its $130 billion merger with Dow Chemical Co. to become DowDuPont.

Provine brings 25 years of experience leading and building businesses and partnerships as the former global operations director of DuPont Science & Engineering, a background that is particularly timely given the initiative of AAAS President Susan Hockfield to ensure that AAAS’ leadership leverages the power of industry to advance science.

Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS and the executive publisher of the Science family of journals, underscored the importance of the contributions he expects Provine to make in extending the Board’s expertise in science based, entrepreneurial endeavors across the globe.

“Bill has first-hand knowledge about innovation centers, partnerships and businesses. He has built them, forged them and grown them. He surely will help extend the reach of an already impressive Board,” said Holt.

Barbara Schaal, chair of the AAAS Board of Directors, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, applauded Provine’s addition to the board.

“We are thrilled that Bill is willing to serve in this important capacity,” said Schaal. “His long involvement with AAAS, and his unique perspective on the important issues facing AAAS and the science and engineering community, will add a vital perspective to our discussions. We look forward to working with him.”

Connecting with a broad spectrum of AAAS’ stakeholders, Provine said he intends “to help establish more robust engagement strategies for all scientists and engineers,” and to work with the Board “to improve and expand connections and programmatic efforts with industrial scientists and engineers in the continuum of companies driving science forward.”

“I am honored to be joining the AAAS Board of Directors and expanding my leadership commitment to its important work,” said Provine. “I look forward to bringing my diverse background as a global innovation and business leader and my experiences transcending a broad spectrum of markets, science and technologies to help enable and accelerate the impact that we all enjoy every day from scientific innovations.”

The AAAS constitution provides the Board with the ability to appoint up to two directors in addition to the officers and directors elected by the AAAS membership. The Board took the action on Sept. 1.

Provine has long been active at AAAS, having served on the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy and as an elected member-at-large of the AAAS Section on Industrial Science and Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

He also has served on an array of advisory boards and committees representing scientific endeavors in industry, government and academia, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Emerging Technology & Research Advisory Committee and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy’s Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee. Further, he has been an active contributor to the scientific landscape having co-authored a variety of research papers and delivered dozens of presentations and lectures at scientific and academic meetings.