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Nominations & Appointments

FYI covers the appointments and confirmation process for key science leadership and advisory positions in the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch, particularly as they pertain to the physical sciences.


June 1, 2021

The Senate has confirmed Eric Lander as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lander is the 11th person to hold the job since Congress created it in 1976 and the first biologist.

May 27, 2021

In support of her nomination to be under secretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu answered questions this week from the Senate Armed Services Committee about matters such as defense innovation priorities and research security.

May 12, 2021

Eric Lander, tapped in January to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is now one of President Biden's last Cabinet officials yet to be confirmed. At his nomination hearing last month, Lander addressed controversies that prompted concerns among senators and defended his commitment to equity.

May 7, 2021

University of Oregon physical chemist Geraldine Richmond has been nominated for the position of under secretary for science and energy at the Department of Energy. Richmond has longstanding connections to DOE and its national labs and has been a member of the National Science Board since 2012.

NOAA Nominee Rick Spinrad
May 6, 2021

President Biden announced last week that he is nominating oceanographer Rick Spinrad to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Spinrad previously served as head of the agency’s research office and as its chief scientist.

April 30, 2021

President Biden has nominated former Sandia National Labs Director Jill Hruby and nuclear weapons policy expert Frank Rose to take the top two positions at the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Energy agency responsible for maintaining the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile.

April 28, 2021

President Biden has nominated University of California, Merced biogeochemist Asmeret Berhe to lead the Department of Energy Office of Science, which oversees a fleet of scientific user facilities and a multi-billion dollar basic research portfolio.

March 25, 2021

Former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), President Biden’s nominee for NASA administrator, spent most of his career in Congress and led panels responsible for space policy over a total of 14 years.

January 20, 2021

President Biden has selected geneticist Eric Lander to be his science advisor and elevated the position to Cabinet rank. Sociologist Alondra Nelson will occupy a new White House job focused on “science and society,” and Caltech’s Frances Arnold and MIT’s Maria Zuber will chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

December 18, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has announced he will nominate former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm to lead the Department of Energy. Drawing on her efforts to diversify her state’s economy and rescue its auto industry, Granholm is a longstanding advocate for using federal funding to promote regional economic development based on clean energy technologies.