In filling his administration’s science policy jobs, President Biden has now named nominees for all but a few top positions in the White House and federal agencies. That record roughly matches the pace set by most other presidents of the last half-century and is much faster than President Trump’s historically slow appointment process.
Physical chemist Geri Richmond and soil scientist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe appeared before a Senate committee this week for a hearing on their nominations to assume the top two science jobs in the Department of Energy. Both nominees appear likely to secure Senate confirmation, despite the top committee Republican questioning Berhe’s qualifications.
President Biden has nominated bioengineer Laurie Locascio to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Locascio was a longtime employee of the agency who rose through the ranks to oversee all laboratory programs across its campuses in Maryland and Colorado.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.