President-elect Joe Biden said Jan. 15 that he will nominate Dr. Eric Lander as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

At the same time, Biden announced that Dr. Francis Collins will continue in his role as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Science will always be at the forefront of my administration – and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and the truth,” Biden said in a statement. “Their trusted guidance will be essential as we come together to end this pandemic, bring our economy back, and pursue new breakthroughs to improve the quality of life of all Americans.”

Collins was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 16th director of NIH, and was selected by President Trump to continue in the role. Prior to serving as NIH director, he was director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993-2008.

Lander will serve as both director of OTSP and serve as the Presidential Science Advisor, making the first time the Presidential Science Advisor position will be elevated to the level of Cabinet member. During the Obama-Biden administration, Lander served as the external co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

“From the coronavirus pandemic to our climate crisis, this past year has reaffirmed the importance of listening to scientists when it comes to meeting the unprecedented challenges facing the American people,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. “These world-renowned scientists and experts reflect the very best of our nation and we are sending a clear message by naming them to these important roles: in our administration, decisions will be informed by the best available science and evidence.”

Also joining the White House science team will be: Alondra Nelson who will serve as OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society; Frances Arnold and Maria Zuber will serve as external Co-Chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST); Kei Koizumi will serve as OSTP Chief of Staff; and Narda Jones will serve as OSTP Legislative Affairs Director.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.