WASHINGTON — Today, President Joe Biden announced that Dr. Alondra Nelson will serve as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Dr. Francis Collins will serve as Science Advisor to the Chair and Co-Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology until permanent leadership is appointed and confirmed. These appointments will allow OSTP and the President’s science and technology agenda to move forward seamlessly under proven leadership.
Nelson is currently the OSTP’s Deputy Director for Science and Society. Nelson led priority efforts to protect the integrity of science within the federal government, expand participation in STEM fields, strengthen America’s research infrastructure, and ensure that all Americans have equitable access to the benefits of new technologies. and emerging and scientific innovation. She played a key role in overseeing the implementation of the President’s first directives on restoring trust in government through scientific integrity and evidence-based policy-making and promoting accountability. racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government.
Collins recently resigned as director of the National Institutes of Health, having served as director for more than 12 years under three presidents. As the longest serving President-appointed NIH Director, he oversaw the work of the world’s largest proponent of biomedical research, from basic to clinical research. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007. He will continue to direct a research laboratory at the NIH, which he has directed since 1993.
In the selections of Dr. Alondra Nelson and Dr. Francis Collins, President Biden doubled down on science. The selections respond to the dual importance of a strong OSTP that can provide science and technology solutions to our greatest challenges – and the very specific focus the President wants to give to the creation of a new research and ARPA-H discovery, the support building for a Cancer Moonshot 2.0, the search for a new NIH chief, and the extensive advisory work of PCAST.
Dr. Alondra Nelson, OSTP Deputy Director of Science and Society and serving as Director of OSTP
Alondra Nelson, Ph.D., is the first deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, she brings her social science expertise, including attention to issues of social inequality, explicitly into the work of federal science and technology strategy and policy. Dr. Nelson is also a Harold F. Linder Professor and Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, an independent research center in Princeton, NJ. She was president of the Social Science Research Council, an international nonprofit research organization from 2017 to 2021. She was previously a professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she also served as the first dean of social sciences. Dr. Nelson’s research contributions lie at the intersection of political and social citizenship, on the one hand, and emerging science and technology, on the other. Dr. Nelson connects these dimensions in a series of widely acclaimed publications, including, most recently, The Social Life of DNA. Dr. Nelson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Francis Collins, Acting Science Advisor to the President and Acting Co-Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology
Francis S. Collins, MD, Ph.D., is the former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As NIH’s longest-serving president-appointed director—spanning 12 years and three presidencies—he oversaw the work of the world’s largest proponent of biomedical research, from basic to clinical research. Dr. Collins is a medical geneticist recognized for his landmark discoveries in disease genes and his leadership of the International Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the instruction manual on human DNA. Dr. Collins’ research lab has discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, familial endocrine cancer syndrome and, more recently, genes for type 2 diabetes and the gene responsible for Hutchinson-Gilford disease progeria syndrome, a rare condition that causes premature aging. Dr. Collins is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, the National Medal of Science in 2009, and the Templeton Prize in 2020.