July 27, 2020

New NIFA Director

NIFA Acting Director Announced

On July 10, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Dr. Parag Chitnis as the Acting Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), after the departure of Dr. Scott Angle. Dr. Angle accepted a position as the Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“Dr. Chitnis brings more than 31 years of scientific research and experience to the Director’s office. He has been instrumental in providing steady leadership and support to NIFA during its transition to Kansas City last fall, in addition to playing a lead role on NIFA’s Project CAFÉ (Collaboratively Achieving Functional Excellence) initiative which aims to help NIFA maximize business operations to better serve its customers,” said Secretary Perdue, in a press release. “We thank Dr. Angle for his many contributions to NIFA and service to USDA and U.S. Agriculture.”

Dr. Chitnis has a B.S. in botany/plant breeding from the Konkan Agricultural University in India, an M.S. in genetics/biochemistry from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California at Los Angeles. He was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology at Iowa State University and an assistant professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University.

Dr. Chitnis then became a research administrator at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, where he served as the Division Director, Deputy Division Director, and Program Director. In 2014, Dr. Chitnis joined NIFA and served as the Deputy Director for NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, a program that supports research and extension activities in plant, animal, and agricultural systems. Earlier this year, Dr. Chitnis was appointed as the Associate Director for Programs and lead the implementation of NIFA’s approximately $1.7 billion research program.