Usha Varshney

Program Director
Electronics, Photonics, and Magnetic Devices Program
Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)
Directorate for Engineering
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA, USA


Dr. Usha Varshney is a Program Director for Electronics, Photonics, and Magnetic Devices in the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) at the National Science Foundation, managing the interdisciplinary science and engineering research thrust areas for spin electronics, micro and nanomagnetic devices and circuits, memories, bioelectronics, molecular electronics, quantum devices, and sensors technologies.

From 2005 to 2008, she served as the Division Director following her service as Acting Division Director of ECCS from 2004 to 2005. She joined the National Science Foundation in 1997, as Program Director of Physical Foundations of Enabling Technologies, and Integrative Systems programs, in the Division of Electrical and Communications Systems (ECS). From 2003 to 2004, Dr. Varshney was a Legislative Fellow in the United States 108th Congress, and a ComSci Fellow in the Science and Technology Fellowship Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce, during which time she worked on Capitol Hill in processing and management of Senate legislative actions relating to Science, Nanotechnology and Space in the Office of Virginia Senator George Allen. She had a leadership role in the passage of Senate Bill S.189 on Nanotechnology signed into law (PL 108‐153) by President Bush on December 3, 2003, and in the organization of the bipartisan and bicameral "Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus" established by Senator Allen on April 1, 2004. From 1997 to 2003, as a Program Director in the Division of Electrical and Communications Systems, Dr. Varshney managed interdisciplinary science and engineering research thrust areas for micro and nanoelectronics, spin electronics, molecular electronics, flexible electronics, organic electronics, micro and nanomagnetics, integrated solid state devices and circuits, and integrative systems.

Prior to joining the National Science Foundation, for over ten years in industry she served as Director of Research, Senior Research Scientist, and Research Scientist, at the American Research Corporation of Virginia (ARCOVA). As Director of Research from 1995-1997, she directed the overall research and development of multidisciplinary programs in science, engineering and education, and managed technical programs in laser processing of materials, fiber optics, chemical and biological sensors, nondestructive evaluation of materials, laser-aligned robotic machining systems, and multimedia educational software systems. From October 1987-1997 as Senior Research Scientist and Research Scientist, she was involved in a broad range of science and technology programs of national interest including fabrication, characterization and testing of novel materials, thin films and devices for integrated planar electronic and magnetic devices and circuits, monolithic magnetics for megahertz frequency high-density power supplies, nonvolatile random access memories, uncooled focal plane arrays, radiation- resistant photovoltaic devices, thermal detectors, superconducting antennas, and flat panel displays. She also conducted research in ceramic-to- metal joining of radome components, plasma-deposited coatings for oxidation protection of carbon-carbon composites for spacecraft structures in low-earth orbit, laser brazing of radome components, and high Tc superconducting fibers for interconnects and devices. Research outcomes have been published in more than seventy technical journals, conference proceedings and government reports. She has also held professional appointments at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Merrimac Magnetics, and Chronar Corporation following the award of her Ph.D. degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, in 1983.

Dr. Varshney is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Since 2010 to present, she serves as an Editorial Board member of the Proceedings of the IEEE and has served as an Editorial Board member of the IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) for Engineering, Technology & Computing Portals (ETCP), an elected member of the Advisory Committee (AdCom) of the IEEE Magnetic Society, and the IEEE Electron Devices Society's (EDS) liaison to the IEEE Women in Engineering Committee (WIEC), and is a Life Member of IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS). She has also served as a member of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) Advisory Committee on Nanotechnology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Varshney is coeditor of four books, an inventor on seven patents, and has also been the recipient of a number of honors and awards, while in industry and at the National Science Foundation.


Physics is fundamental to new discovery, solving technological problems as well as to develop and improve industrial products. If elected, I plan to support industrial physics and foster the industrial physics community by encouraging programs of the APS Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP) that will increase industrial mentorship, internships for introducing physicists to industrial practices and for graduates entering industry, adding Industrial career guidance and entrepreneurship sessions at the national and section meetings, and mentoring for mid-career physicists, as identified in the workshop report on ‘National Issues in Industrial Physics Challenges and Opportunities’ sponsored by the APS and FIAP (October 2014), and summarized in the APS News Article (John Rumble, Vol.24, No 9, October 2015).