Joda Thongnopnua joins TIP Directorate's leadership team

Photo of Joda Thongnopnua
The U.S. National Science Foundation Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) announced the appointment of Joda Thongnopnua as special advisor for the directorate. 

In this new role, Thongnopnua will serve as a principal advisor and delegate to the TIP assistant director and deputy assistant director and lead directorate-wide efforts to deliver on the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, with a particular focus on enhancing interagency interactions. For example, among his responsibilities, Thongnopnua will proactively create connections with other parts of the federal government, state and local governments, and tribal nations in support of the full complement of TIP programs. 

"We are delighted to have Joda take on this critical role within TIP," said Erwin Gianchandani, assistant director for TIP. "Joda's background before joining TIP coupled with his experience in the NSF Engines program position him extraordinarily well to help build connections for the directorate with our key stakeholders and deliver on our mission as laid out in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022." 

Thongnopnua joined TIP last year, serving as a program director for the NSF Engines program, working as part of the team that helped launch the inaugural portfolio of place-based investment back in January. In that role, he demonstrated not only his commitment to the NSF Engines, but also to the directorate’s broader mission and vision for harnessing the full geography and demography of innovation across America to accelerate progress in critical and emerging technologies and address pressing societal, regional, national, and geostrategic challenges. 

Previously, Thongnopnua served as chief of staff to Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. He was Mayor Kelly's top aide and principal advisor and was chiefly responsible for implementing the mayor's agenda and leading major policy priorities across a 2,600-person organization and $350 million annual budget. In that position, he led efforts to secure support and key resources for Chattanooga's emerging regional research and technology partnerships and designed the city’s allocation plan for a historic $30 million investment pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to close persistent economic gaps by investing in key workforce, affordable housing and early education initiatives. 

"This is an exciting time to be at NSF as the agency and TIP take on the critical mission to advance our nation's economic competitiveness, bolster our national security and create opportunities for all Americans," Thongnopnua said. "I've seen first-hand how science, technology and innovation can unlock powerful possibilities for working families in local communities, and I'm honored to join the TIP leadership team to help accelerate that vital work in places all across America." 

Before his roles in the Chattanooga, he served in key leadership roles across a range of nonprofit and private sector organizations, including in philanthropy, an urban policy think tank and a venture capital firm. 

Thongnopnua's appointment began on March 10.