Executive Director, Universities Research Association
Marta Cehelsky was named Executive Director of Universities Research Association (URA) in April 2011, having served as Vice President of the organization from 2008. URA is an 86 member non-profit consortium of major research universities established to enable its members to plan, build, and operate large research facilities. Among other activities, URA’s primary responsibility for more than 40 years has been as the management and operations contractor for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, since 2007 in partnership with the University of Chicago. As Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, in coordination with the URA Board of Trustees Dr. Cehelsky provides leadership in the strategic planning, governance, and administration of the organization, and corporate relations with Federal government, industry, and general public.
Prior to her appointment at URA, Dr. Cehelsky was Senior Adviser in the Office of the Director of the National Science Foundation, and Executive Secretary of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previously, on a leave of absence, she served for four years as the Senior Adviser for Science and Technology at the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), the largest provider of multilateral development assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean, providing leadership in the establishment of a new IDB Subdepartment for Science and Technology and spearheading a successful and ongoing initiative to strengthen the effectiveness of the Bank’s S&T activities. From 1992-2002 she served as Executive Officer of the Presidentially appointed National Science Board, which is responsible for NSF policy and for advising the US President and Congress on national science and technology policy. She served in policy positions of increasing responsibility at NSF, including Senior Adviser to the Director and Senior International Fellow, and was principal NSF liaison to the policy committees of the National Research Council and the National Academies. While on the staff of Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) in 1983 and 1984, she served as special assistant for policy. As senior policy analyst at NASA from 1977 to 1980 Cehelsky represented NASA on the Presidential Task Force on Remote Sensing Policy.
From 1974-1977 Dr. Cehelsky was on the faculty of the Political Science Department of Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where she served as a member of the faculty council and chaired the college-wide Affirmative Action Committee on Women. She led an initiative at the University of Houston on the political economy of the US Mexican border, and was consultant to the City of Houston and Shell Oil, Inc. Dr. Cehelsky holds a doctorate in comparative politics from Columbia University and is the author of numerous policy papers and technical reports. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the recipient of numerous awards for her service in the Federal government.