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Norman P. Neureiter of AAAS Named to Receive National Academy of Sciences' Award
Norman P. Neureiter
The Public Welfare Medal, the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences award established in 1914, will this year go to Norman P. Neureiter, director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy, in recognition of his extraordinary efforts as a science adviser and a champion for international research cooperation.
In particular, Neureiter was selected "for enhancing the status of science and technology in the U.S. State Department as the first science and technology adviser to the secretary of state and for spurring international cooperation in science and technology under U.S. leadership," the Academy announced 14 January 2008.
"Dr. Neureiter's wise counsel on international science and technology issues is rivaled by few," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "We honor him for successfully integrating science and technology into U.S. foreign policy."
Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science said: "We are honored to count Norman Neureiter among our colleagues on the AAAS staff. His distinguished career epitomizes the AAAS mission of advancing science while serving society."
The Public Welfare Medal, consisting of a medal and an illuminated scroll, will be presented to Neureiter on 27 April during the Academy's 145th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Previous recipients of the medal had included William T. Golden, Maxine F. Singer, Norman R. Augustine, and Carl Sagan.
Neureiter is the second current AAAS senior manager to receive the Public Welfare Medal: Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources at AAAS, was honored in 2003 for her lifelong efforts to make science available to those normally underrepresented in science careers.
When asked for his reaction to the award, Neureiter described himself as "thoroughly humbled to see the previous awardees and the stellar array of talent and accomplishment that they represent."
In addition, Neureiter said that he was elated by the Academy's decision to recognize the importance of science and technology cooperation as a positive instrument of a constructive U.S. foreign policy.
"This kind of engagement can be one of the nation's most effective 'soft power' strategies for both addressing problems of global concern—such as food, energy, and climate change—and for building bridges of understanding to other countries," Neureiter said. "It is the ultimate win-win strategy." The approach receives periodic attention, but in the United States, he added, "we have not yet found a successful mechanism to provide the dedicated financial support to make this cooperation a vibrant reality. Getting the money is still in the category of 'unfinished business.'"
The Academy's official award announcement noted that Neureiter has "long sought to integrate science into the development of national and international public policy," a key goal of AAAS and its Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy. Neureiter has directed the AAAS Center since 2004, when it was launched with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to serve as a two-way information portal between academicians and the Washington policy community.
The Academy reported that Neureiter, well known as a leader in science and diplomacy, was selected in September 2000 to serve a three-year term as the first science and technology adviser to the secretary of state, first under Madeline Albright, then Colin Powell. As the principal liaison with the national and international science communities, the Academy said, "He successfully led a five-fold increase in the number of science and diplomacy fellows in the State Department, and increased the dialogue between the diplomatic and academic science communities, along with building new international partnerships. With India, for example, he implemented the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum to promote bilateral science and technology cooperation between the U.S. and India, and continues to serve as the U.S. co-chair of this organization."
The position of science and technology adviser was created based on recommendations from a National Research Council report, The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. The report urged the secretary of state to appoint a highly qualified senior adviser for science, technology, and health who could provide advice to the Department of State on the technical dimensions of current and emerging foreign policy issues drawing in the resources of the American scientific communities, as needed.
A Distinguished Presidential Fellow for International Affairs at the National Academies, Neureiter served on numerous Academies' boards and committees, including the International Advisory Board, the Space Studies Board, the Committee on Scientific Communication and National Security, and the Committee on Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States. Most recently, Neureiter was a part of a U.S. National Academies' delegation that traveled to Iran in October 2007 to expand a program of scientific cooperation with Iranian researchers and education centers.
Neureiter began his career in 1957 at Humble Oil and Refining as a research chemist while also teaching German and Russian at the University of Houston. On a four-month leave from his laboratory in 1959, he served as a guide in Moscow at the U.S. National Exhibition—one of the United States' first engagement initiatives with the Soviet Union. Fluent in seven languages, Neureiter became a part-time escort interpreter for the U.S. Department of State, working with the first Soviet petroleum delegation to the U.S. as well as informal U.S.-Soviet nuclear test-ban treaty discussions in the early 1960s.
With a desire to combine his science background with his interest in languages and global affairs, Neureiter joined the International Affairs Office of the National Science Foundation. There he became the first permanent program director of the U.S—Japan Cooperative Science Program created by President Kennedy to address the "broken dialogue" between the intellectual and scientific communities of the two countries through cooperation in science.
Transitioning from a research-based focus to the field of international scientific and technical affairs, Neureiter became a Foreign Service reserve officer and went to Germany as a deputy scientific attache' at the U.S. embassy. He later became the first U.S. scientific attache' in Eastern Europe, based in Warsaw from 1967-69 with responsibility for Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, where he witnessed the impact of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the stormy student protests in Poland.
From 1969 to 1973, as assistant to President Richard Nixon's science advisers Lee DuBridge and Ed David, he was responsible for international affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology. There he led the establishment of the first cooperative science agreement with the U.S.S.R. that was signed at the Nixon-Brezhnev summit in 1972, and prepared scientific initiatives for use in the discussions that led to the Nixon-Kissinger diplomatic breakthrough with China that same year.
In 1973, Neureiter joined Texas Instruments (TI), where he held a number of positions during his 23-year tenure dealing with corporate external relations, European marketing, and international business development, retiring in 1996 as vice president, TI Asia.
Born in Illinois, Neureiter grew up near Rochester, N.Y. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He spent a year at the University of Munich as a Fulbright Fellow in the Institute of Organic Chemistry.
"Neureiter has dedicated much of his life to building peaceful and constructive relations between the U.S. and other countries and, particularly, in using science and technology cooperation as an effective instrument for developing those relationships," said John Brauman, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the Public Welfare Medal selection committee.
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter.
Excerpted from the National Academy of Sciences announcement
14 January 2008