Tomorrow, Dr. Lander Will Be Sworn In To Become the First-Ever OSTP Director and Presidential Science Advisor to Serve in the President’s Cabinet, Elevating Science and Technology as Central Drivers of Solutions to Critical National Challenges


Today, key leaders in public policy, science and academia welcomed Dr. Eric Lander as the 11th Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on the heels of his unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate on Friday. Dr. Lander also serves as the President’s Science Advisor, providing the President with scientific and technological analysis and judgment on issues, policies, plans, and programs of the Federal government. The leaders praised Dr. Lander’s ability to bring together diverse communities to achieve historic, science-based results and his commitment to scientific integrity.

By elevating OSTP to the cabinet level for the first time in U.S. history, President Biden made clear that science and technology will play a central role in addressing the nation’s most pressing challenges and most promising opportunities.

OSTP’s mission is to maximize the benefits of science and technology to advance health, prosperity, security, environmental quality, and justice for all Americans.

See below for what they are saying:

Policymakers

National Climate Advisor and 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy: “Climate change is the challenge of our lifetimes – and we need science at the forefront. With Dr. Lander as a partner, we can take historic strides to overcome this crisis, while creating jobs and equity for the American workforce.”

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.: “I look forward to working with Dr. Lander, who personifies collaborative and cross-disciplinary science. Eric has been a valued colleague and friend for many years. He is a true polymath – a scientific leader, geneticist, molecular biologist, mathematician, teacher, and science communicator whose keen intelligence and vision will serve the research enterprise well.”

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.: “I could not be happier to see my long-time colleague, Eric Lander, confirmed as the White House Science Advisor. Eric’s brilliance, vision, creativity, and ability to inspire others were clear as we worked together on the Human Genome Project. As the first life scientist to serve in this position, and the first to be given a cabinet position, I predict he will have a profound and transformational effect on American science.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “Dr. Eric Lander is a scientist to his bones – and he recognizes that the scientific community is strongest when it is diverse and inclusive. The world-renowned Broad Institute, which Eric co-founded, is majority women-led and is consistently recognized for its progressive workplace programs. A passionate scientist whose enthusiasm for learning is infectious, Eric pulls people and ideas together — and best of all, he makes things happen. Under Eric’s leadership, the Office of Science and Technology will push forward cutting-edge policies that benefit everyone and reinvigorate our country’s role as a scientific leader.”

U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA): “A visionary scientist and thinker, Dr. Lander represents the new kind of American pioneer – not seeing limits in biology, but the expanse of possibility. During the coronavirus pandemic, he moved to build – from scratch to operation – the largest non-commercial COVID-19 testing laboratory in the country. A strong supporter of people of color in science and improving racial equity in science outcomes, Dr. Lander has used science as a tool for justice – playing a key role in the origins of the Innocence Project. The crises we face today are daunting, from competition with China, to fighting to cure insidious diseases like Alzheimer’s. But with Eric’s pioneering spirit at the helm of our science and innovation, America will not only take on these challenges, but lead the way.”

Ernest J. Moniz, 13th U.S. Secretary of Energy: “Eric Lander is a world-class scientist of unusual breadth – math to biology – who I’ve known as an MIT colleague and from our joint service on the Obama Administration President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.  Eric was co-chair and it was the hardest working and most productive PCAST ever.  President Biden saw its importance up close.  Eric will do a superb job leading OSTP and marshalling the best scientific advice to the President across the board – preventing future pandemics, fighting climate change, reducing the nuclear danger, growing the high-tech economy, and more.”

Penny Pritzker, 38th U.S. Secretary of Commerce: “The future of America’s competitiveness and inclusive growth hinges on our ability to harness the power of science and technology. With Dr. Lander’s visionary leadership at the helm, we can be confident that science will drive greater opportunity for American workers and that investments in innovation will spur our economy. I am confident that Dr. Lander will help make sure that the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive economic recovery plan will provide the right training for our workers and technologies for our economy that will keep America on the cutting edge for years to come.”

Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Past President and Chair, American Association for the Advancement of Science; 21st Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “An internationally renowned scientist, Dr. Lander has unusually broad experience and expertise spanning both key disciplines of science and the critical domains of the scientific enterprise. Whether as President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute or as Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), Eric has consistently demonstrated his ability to advocate for and support key fundamental and applied science programs, identifying and addressing important emerging issues in science and science policy. As OSTP Director, Eric will ensure that opportunities in science and technology can be harnessed to serve society so that we can address unmet public health needs, drive U.S. economic competitiveness and productivity, and identify science-based solutions for some of the greatest challenges of our times.”

Harold Varmus, M.D., 14th Director of the National Institutes of Health and 14th Director of the National Cancer Institute; former PCAST co-chair (2009-2010) Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine; Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine (1989): “The Senate’s confirmation of President Biden’s choice of Eric Lander as Director of OSTP is great news for our country as we recover from a devastating pandemic, take more stringent measures to combat climate change, and encourage the wider use of science to enhance our society. Eric is not only an esteemed geneticist, with a broad background in mathematics and social sciences; he has also demonstrated his talents as a strong leader and judicious team builder as the founding Director of the hugely successful Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT and as the energetic co-chairman of Barack Obama’s Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) for eight years.”

Aneesh Chopra, M.P.P., 4th U.S. Chief Technology Officer (2009-2012): “Dr. Lander is the ideal leader to put science in its rightful place as he represents excellence in scholarship, effectiveness in communicating ways to harness scientific and technological breakthroughs to advance our national priorities, and a collaborative spirit to engage the public and private sectors in ways to accelerate progress. I witnessed his leadership first hand with the launch of PCAST’s ground-breaking 2010 Health IT report laying out a road map for open, internet-based data sharing standards which are now enshrined in the 21st Century Cures Act information blocking regulations a decade later.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker: “Eric Lander provided invaluable advice to inform our pandemic response in Massachusetts, and he and his team at the Broad Institute also helped to stand up a significant PCR testing operation to provide millions of tests. These contributions made a significant difference to our administration and the people of Massachusetts. Eric is highly qualified to serve as the Director of OSTP, and I congratulate him on this new role.”

Scientists and Academics:

Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D., Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine (1985); Regental Professor and Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center: “Eric Lander is one of the best, if not the best, communicators of scientific issues – no matter how complex. He is brilliant, visionary, and dedicated to making our country a great place in which to live and work. When the Covid-19 pandemic first appeared last year, the Broad Institute under Eric’s leadership launched one of the largest scale, lowest-cost PCR testing labs in the U.S. – a prime example of Eric’s devotion to public service and his remarkable ability to rapidly get things done.”

Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H., Surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Professor in the Department of Health and Policy Management, Harvard School of Public Health; Founder and Chair, Ariadne Labs: “Eric Lander is one of the most important scientists of our time. There could not be a better choice for America’s chief scientist. No American is better prepared or more suited for this vital role.”

Martha Minow, J.D., 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University; former Dean, Harvard Law School: “Eric Lander has not only made landmark contributions to science and scientific research; he brings his enormous talents to frame and communicate the vital public choices about genetics, digital communications, robotics, and environmental protection that will define the health, welfare, and opportunities for generations to come.   His sweeping knowledge, leadership, and compassion will be engines for President Biden’s commitment to harness the promise of science to better the lives of all Americans.”

George Daley, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, Harvard Medical School: “Dr. Lander inspires by example, sets a blazing intellectual pace, and motivates others to sprint to keep up. Yet essential to Dr. Lander’s success at driving major innovations in science is his remarkable capacity for building teams and for winning the loyalty and dedication of his colleagues. He sets bold, audacious goals and marshals the collective efforts of his team to achieve them. These skills will prove vital to his role as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and his success in building coalitions and advancing science in the public interest. He brings an unassailable ethical as well as practical lens to his scrutiny of scientific policy and the societal context of emerging technologies.”

J. Michael McQuade, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, Carnegie Mellon University; PCAST Member (2013-2017): “Congratulations to Dr. Eric Lander on his appointment as director of OSTP. President Biden has committed America’s scientific resources to the fundamental challenges of our time, including addressing climate change, learning from one pandemic and safeguarding against the next, and enabling the equitable and just economic and national security of all Americans. Dr. Lander brings profound scientific skills, long experience at the forefront of scientific policy, and his passion for engaging the entire nation in confronting and addressing these challenges. We look forward to his leadership.”

Christopher Chyba, Ph.D., Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs, Princeton University; PCAST Member (2009-2017): “Many of the most severe challenges facing the United States have critical scientific components. So, it’s long overdue that, for the first time in U.S. history, in the Biden-Harris administration the Science Advisor will also be a standing member of the President’s National Security Council. Eric Lander, with his deep knowledge of biotechnology and mathematics, and his administrative and government experience, has what’s needed to ensure that in our country’s next crisis, and in the ones after that, the President and his Cabinet will benefit from the best scientific advice that can be brought to bear. We will all be safer for it.”

Michelle Williams, Sc.D., Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “I have witnessed Dr. Eric Lander’s remarkable coalition building skills within the Boston biomedical community, which will certainly prove valuable in his new role within the federal government. I have also been impressed by Dr. Lander’s commitment to public service, particularly his work to promote access to health care – including during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Broad Institute enabled large-scale testing in the hardest-hit and most vulnerable communities. I know Dr. Lander will continue his stellar work and dedication to public service for the benefit of the American people.”

Paula A. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., President, Wellesley College: “At the height of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of students across New England were able to resume in-person learning thanks to Dr. Eric Lander and the Broad Institute, which created one of the largest-scale, lowest-cost PCR testing labs in the United States. When it came to setting up a large-scale testing program to keep students and our communities safe, he didn’t hesitate to take on the challenge. The program now spans almost 140 public and private institutions and helped ensure affordable access to COVID-19 testing. This is just one example of Dr. Lander’s distinguished leadership as a researcher and community builder, with a long track record of public service. Dr. Lander’s confirmation as OSTP Director ensures that we have a champion for science and collaboration in the White House to develop the innovations and solutions for our future, and for our children’s future, in the United States and globally.”

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; PCAST Member (2009-2014): “Dr. Lander’s background in mathematics, and his research accomplishments in the life sciences, and given the degree to which the biological, physical, and digital worlds are converging, Dr. Lander is well equipped to advise the White House on advances in these areas and their utility in addressing the important challenges we face.”

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