New Science Adviser May Soon Join the White House

According to Science Magazine, a new science adviser may soon join President Donald Trump’s team. Trump announced on August 2, that he intends to nominate meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, a university administrator and former vice-chair of the governing board of the U.S. National Science Foundation, to be director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This decision made after 560 days, double the amount of time taken by any other president to name a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director.

Droegemeier’s position would mean advising the president on technical issues and overseeing coordination of federal science policy. With Droegemeir in office, the science community has high hopes for the future of climate change and his ability to advocate for it.

Maria Zuber, a planetary geophysicist and vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of the many scientists who believe Droegemeier will stand up for climate science. “He always has. I see no reason why he wouldn’t now.”

“He has experience speaking science to power,” says environmental policy expert John Holdren, who served as science adviser under former President Barack Obama and is now at Harvard University. “I expect he’ll be energetic in defending the R&D budget and climate change research in particular.”

Droegemeier served on the faculty of The University of Oklahoma for 33 years and has been the school’s vice president for research since 2009. He earned his PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1985. As a researcher, he focused on numerical weather forecasting, including studies of thunderstorm dynamics, and helped develop the use of supercomputers to run atmospheric models.

“Kelvin is one of the most respected colleagues in the field of meteorology but also has the experience and savvy to interact at the highest policy levels,” says Marshall Shepherd, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Georgia in Athens and chair of NASA’s Earth Sciences Advisory Committee. Many in the science community believe Droegemeier will result in positive outcomes for the environment and climate change.

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