Alondra Nelson and Francis Collins temporarily taking top White House science roles

Associated Press/Matt Slocum

President Biden announced Wednesday that two people will fill leadership roles for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) after his top science adviser announced his resignation last week.

The White House said that “until permanent leadership is nominated and confirmed,” Alondra Nelson will serve as director of the office, and Francis Collins will be Biden’s science adviser and co-chair of the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

“These appointments will allow OSTP and the President’s Science and Technology agenda to move seamlessly forward under proven leadership,” the statement said.

Collins, a 2007 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, recently stepped down from after over a decade as director of the National Institutes of Health. Nelson formerly was OSTP’s deputy director for science and society.

In the announcement, the White House said that the decisions signaled the administration had “doubled down on science.”

The new leadership placements come after an internal investigation found that Eric Lander, Biden’s previous science adviser, bullied his subordinates, prompting his resignation.

“It is clear that things I said, and the way I said them, crossed the line at times into being disrespectful and demeaning, to both men and women. That was never my intention,” Lander said in his resignation letter. “Nonetheless, it is my fault and my responsibility. I will take this lesson forward.”  

He also said at the time that his resignation would become effective on Feb. 18 to allow for an “orderly transfer.”

Tags Eric Lander Joe Biden

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