“This is prime time for the geosciences,” Tim Killeen, former assistant director for geosciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF GEO), told Eos during a recent exclusive interview. Killeen, who served at NSF from July 2008 until his term expired in June 2012, oversaw a number of new initiatives and an expansion of the geoscience directorate's annual funding portfolio from $752 million to about $880 million. NSF announced on 7 November that Roger Wakimoto, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, will start as the new geosciences assistant director in February 2013 (see related article, this page, and Eos, 93(47), 475, doi:10.1029/ 2012EO470004). During the broad-ranging interview, Killeen reflected on the importance of the geosciences and their relationship to society. Killeen has been president of the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (RFSUNY) and SUNY vice chancellor for research since 9 July. He took the helm of RFSUNY after some personnel there “took advantage of lax oversight to cheat taxpayers,” according to New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Killeen, who was AGU president from 2006 to 2008, is responsible for the supervision and operation of RFSUNY, which supports about $1 billion in research at SUNY, an institution with 64 campuses and nearly 470,000 students.