Washington Update

Nominee for White House Science Advisor Approved By Senate Committee

By: Jennifer Zeitzer
Thursday, September 6, 2018

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) should soon have a new leader, filling a key position that has been vacant since the beginning of the Trump administration. On September 5, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) Committee favorably approved the President’s nomination of Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to be Director of OSTP. The Director also typically serves as the White House Science Advisor. Full Senate consideration is expected later this fall.

Dr. Droegemeier received strong support from the scientific community following the White House’s July 31 nomination announcement. FASEB and nearly 50 other organizations signed a letter urging the Senate to quickly confirm him, noting that OSTP “plays a critical role in not only being an advisor to the President, but also in coordinating the federal government’s crucial science functions.”

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Cordova, PhD, issued a press release, stating, “I am thrilled at the nomination of Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Through his deep and years-long connection to the NSF, we know him to be a thoughtful advocate for all aspects of science.”

At an August 23 hearing before the Senate CST Committee, Dr. Droegemeier was applauded for his assistance in developing the 2015 America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science Act. During his testimony and ensuing discussion, he highlighted the administration’s science priorities contained in a recent memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget. They include interagency coordination, regulatory reform, a world class academic enterprise, and efforts to ensure the integration of science in solving pressing problems.

In his discussions with various Senators during the hearing, he pledged to keep science and scientists free from political interference and endorsed efforts to ensure that scientific workplaces are free from sexual harassment.

Dr. Droegemeier is Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma and serves as Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary of Science and Technology. He completed two terms on the National Science Board under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. A fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Droegemeier received a BS in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and an MS and PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.