New ARS administrator selected
By: Sydney Sheffield
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has named Simon Liu, Ph.D. as the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). While Liu was officially named as ARS Administrator on January 4, 2023, he has been acting in this role since June 2022. In this role, Liu will lead the agency in its efforts to leverage the latest advances in science and technology and develop innovative solutions to agricultural challenges facing the nation and world.
"The Department, nation, and the world look to ARS to provide cutting-edge discoveries and solutions that are rooted in quality, objective science," said USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist Chavonda Jacobs-Young. "Research is the key to strengthening and adapting agriculture to meet the needs of today and the challenges we face tomorrow. Dr. Liu's decades of public service and previous leadership roles within ARS make him the perfect fit to lead the agency into the future. His experience, expertise, and dedication to excellence in both program and administration will continue to serve ARS well as a premier scientific organization."
Before joining ARS, Liu served as Associate Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Director of the NLM Computer and Communications System. Prior to his service at NLM, he held leadership positions with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury, following work in the private sector where he led information system development and space mission studies to support NASA missions and operations. Liu was also the Associate Administrator for USDA’s Research Management and Operations for more than seven years. He first joined ARS in 2010 as Director of the National Agricultural Library (NAL), which houses the world's largest collections devoted to agriculture and related sciences.
As ARS Administrator, Liu, and his senior leadership team administer more than 660 research projects spread across four National Program Areas. These research projects are conducted by 2,000 scientists and post-doctoral researchers assigned to 90-plus research locations nationwide, including a few laboratories overseas.
"It's an honor to be a part of such an innovative research agency that provides scientific excellence through agricultural discoveries," Liu said in a press release. "These discoveries support the nourishment of all people while sustaining our nation's agroecosystem and natural resources. As administrator, I will continue supporting and advancing the great work that our more than 8,000 employees do every day."
Liu attended university in his native Taiwan and pursued graduate studies in the United States, where he earned master's degrees in Computer Science, Business Administration, and Government from Indiana University, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University. He also earned two doctoral degrees: an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from George Washington University.