Research!America applauds the pivotally important science and technology-focused announcements President-elect Biden made this afternoon.
Our nation is exceptionally well-served by the President-elect’s decision to ask Dr. Francis Collins to continue his tenure at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Collins earns and commands enormous respect and deep gratitude; he is a key national leader who brings extraordinary vision, expertise, and commitment to a role that bears crucially on the health and wellbeing of Americans and populations across the globe.
President-elect Biden also announced that he will elevate the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to a Cabinet-level position, and coupled that historic decision with the nomination of extraordinary individuals to key S&T positions. This is not simply welcome news, it is an urgently important, strategic turning point for our nation.
COVID-19 is an all-too-clear harbinger. If our nation does not assign a higher priority to S&T as strategic assets essential to predicting, preempting, and defeating current and future threats confronting our nation, those threats will win. Today’s announcement places our nation firmly on the path to disempowering challenges to the health, prosperity, and security of Americans by out-innovating them.
The nomination of Dr. Eric Lander to the position of OSTP Director is emblematic. The breadth and depth of Dr. Lander’s scientific accomplishments are astounding, but he is also the highly regarded leader of the Broad Institute and an internationally respected voice in the S&T policy arena. Dr. Lander is the right leader at the right time to provide cabinet-level counsel and direct our nation’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Fully consistent with these welcome developments are several other major S&T announcements today, including reinforcing the significance of social science by establishing an OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society and appointing Dr. Alondra Nelson to that role. The President-elect also appointed several other highly respected leaders to key positions: Dr. Frances H. Arnold and Dr. Maria Zuber to serve as external Co-Chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology; Kei Koizumi to serve as OSTP Chief of Staff, and Narda Jones to serve as OSTP Legislative Affairs Director. Our nation will benefit in multi-faceted ways from this diverse, highly accomplished, and exceptionally talented group of individuals.