On assuming the presidency of the United States on the 21st of January 2021, one of President Joe Biden’s first moves was to appoint Eric Lander as the new Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and as Science Advisor to the President. This title, for the first time in American history, was elevated to the cabinet.
In order to understand what this means for the future of science, Renato Pedrosa looks at the letter written from Biden to Lander, which heavily references Vannevar Bush’s seminal 1945 publication “Science, the Endless Frontier”, which set out the national priorities for a post-war recovery that led to half a century of unprecedented technological innovation and social progress. With that cycle drawing to a close, and social progress becoming unmoored from innovation, this letter suggests a reaffirmation of the importance of science to society.
Eric Steven Lander is a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School, a former member of the Whitehead Institute, and the founding director of the Broad Institute. He was co-chair of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.