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President Biden Selects Academy Member Eric Lander as the Nation’s Top Science Adviser

Published January 26, 2021

By Nicholas Dirks

Eric Lander (left) as Master of Ceremonies at the 2015 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists; with Academy President Emeritus, Ellis Rubinstein.

Eric Lander (left) as Master of Ceremonies at the 2015 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists; with Academy President Emeritus, Ellis Rubinstein.

In a clear sign that science will play a more prominent policy role in the Biden administration, geneticist Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute at Harvard University and MIT, has been named as presidential science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Upon confirmation, Lander will also be the first science advisor to serve as a member of a president’s cabinet. In his appointment letter to Eric Lander, Mr. Biden outlined his priorities for the OSTP to address, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and how science and technology can benefit all of society.

An eloquent science communicator and fierce advocate for scientific innovation and discovery, Eric Lander, serves as Scientific Advisory Council member to the Blavatnik National Awards, one of four awards programs of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists that are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences. “Young scientists drive scientific discovery and innovation. They feel urgency and impatience. They think creatively and boldly. While we must support promising scientists at all levels, young scientists are a critical resource that we must nurture for the good of the whole scientific enterprise,” said Lander. Lander has been involved in the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists since 2014, serving as master of ceremonies at the second annual Blavatnik National Awards Ceremony in 2015 and as Life Sciences presenter at the 2017 Blavatnik National Awards Ceremony.

For over two hundred years, the New York Academy of Sciences has been committed to advancing science for the benefit of society. Our members have included some of the world’s most brilliant thinkers—Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison and Margaret Mead, as well as past U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe—just to name a few. It is encouraging to see Eric Lander, a friend of the Blavatnik Awards and member of the Academy, elevated to a Presidential cabinet-level position. It is a renewed step towards restoring public trust in science as well as the contributions to the American economy and society at large. President Biden’s appointment of Lander is a beacon of hope for the future.