The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) applauds the announcement of senior science appointments by President-elect Joe Biden. We strongly support the nomination of Eric Lander as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Elevating this role to membership in the President’s Cabinet clearly signals the administration’s intent to involve scientific expertise in every policy discussion. AAAS has long maintained that the OSTP director should be a nationally respected leader in science, engineering and policy, and Lander has the requisite skills for this critically important role that works across disciplines and federal agencies. His leadership at the Broad Institute, contributions to the success of the Human Genome Project and experience as a former co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will enable Lander to ensure that science and technology plays a significant role in addressing the challenges we face as a nation. Lander is a AAAS Fellow and was awarded the AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Award in 2016 in recognition of his distinguished contributions to science and society. We also applaud the selection of Alondra Nelson, a social scientist and member of the AAAS Board of Directors, as Deputy Director of OSTP for Science and Society, Maria Zuber and Frances Arnold as co-chairs of PCAST, and Kei Koizumi as OSTP Chief of Staff.
We look forward to Senate approval of Lander’s nomination in the coming weeks so that he is integrated quickly into the Cabinet and can contribute to policy decisions by the Biden administration. From effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, to building an innovation ecosystem that protects our national security and economic interests, the use of science and technology is crucial in informing evidence-based and equitable policy options. AAAS and the scientific community stand ready to assist OSTP and PCAST as they work to address national concerns.