Paul Nurse, Rockefeller University’s president since 2003, will leave the university in December 2010 to assume the presidency of the Royal Society of London.
The Royal Society of London is the British equivalent of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. The president of the Royal Society acts as an independent advisor on science to the British Prime Minister. Nurse, a British-born geneticist and cell biologist who was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, is the only nominee as the Society’s next president.
Russell L. Carson, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Rockefeller University, said, “The presidency of the Royal Society is the most prestigious and influential position that can be held by a British scientist.
“While we will be sad to see Paul depart, we certainly understand his decision and are pleased that he will continue to be our president for the remainder of the year. Rockefeller University is in excellent shape, both scientifically and financially, and we are intent on continuing the momentum that has been developed under Paul’s leadership.”
Carson said he would chair a search committee, which would include Rockefeller faculty members, and was hopeful that a successor would be in place by the time of Nurse’s departure.
Nurse said, “I have been honored to serve as Rockefeller’s president. This has been an ideal position for me, combining leadership of this great institution with the opportunity to continue my own research activities. The decision to step down from the presidency is a very difficult one.”
After he assumes the Royal Society presidency, Nurse will maintain a laboratory on the Rockefeller campus and will have an ongoing relationship with the university.