DOT appoints chief science officer for first time in 40 years

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks with reporters at the White House
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The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Wednesday it is appointing a chief science officer, the first time in more than 40 years the role will be filled in the department.                                                            

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg designated Robert Hampshire, the current acting assistant secretary for research and technology, for the role. He will be the main adviser to Buttigieg on science and technology issues. 

Hampshire will focus on the administration’s commitment to address climate change and ensure that research, development and technology programs are scientifically and technologically well-founded, according to DOT.

Hampshire was previously an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and has his PhD from Princeton University.

“The re-introduction of a Chief Science Officer underscores transportation’s key role in addressing the complexity and criticality of our dynamically changing climate,” Hampshire said in a statement.

DOT also announced it will reestablish its Climate Change Center, which is intended to help coordinate and support the transportation sector in moving toward a net-zero carbon emissions. 

“Climate resilience and environmental justice are at the heart of this Administration’s mission to build back better – and that effort must be grounded in scientific expertise,” Buttigieg said in a statement. 

The appointment marks a stark contrast from the Trump administration.

The Climate Change Center was first established during the Clinton administration and has been dormant since 2017, when former President Trump took office. 

DOT said that it identified 24 websites and 33 reports and publications that had been de-published soon after Trump was inaugurated in 2017, which it has since restored to public access.

DOT announced it also plans to re-designated a Scientific Integrity Officer to report to Hampshire. 

Tags Donald Trump Pete Buttigieg

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