ESA Statement on Science in the Biden Administration

Jan. 25, 2021

“The Ecological Society of America is in full support of President Joe Biden’s bold actions to restore the central role of science in guiding policy and decision making that is research and evidence-based. As a country, we face many challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating impacts of climate change, and racial, economic and environmental injustice to name but a few. Confronting these and other crises simultaneously and ensuring a better quality of life for all Americans requires national leadership that is grounded in facts and truth and advised by stellar scientific minds. The Biden administration is ensuring just that.

By historically elevating the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology to the Cabinet-level, President Biden is putting science at the forefront of his administration. ESA applauds the nomination of Dr. Eric Lander to fill both this role and the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) role. Dr. Lander’s contributions to the Human Genome Project, his leadership at the Broad Institute, and his experience as the former co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) uniquely positions him to ensure that strong science guides sound policy. We also applaud the appointments of Dr. Alondra Nelson as the Deputy Director for Science and Society, Dr. Maria Zuber and Dr. Frances Arnold as PCAST co-chairs, and Kei Koizumi as OSTP Chief of Staff.

These appointments are outstanding, as are this administration’s initial actions. President Biden’s first days in office have been spent signing Executive Orders (EO) to advance science-based federal leadership in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, protecting sacred and ecologically important national monuments, suspending oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, rejoining the World Health Organization, and rolling back dozens of poorly conceived attacks on essential environmental protections. These, and numerous other EOs, signal the value that the administration places on science-informed policy and decision making. Furthermore, the Biden administration’s leadership in racial justice and commitment to diversity across government are beacons of hope for a stronger society.

The ecological community stands ready to work together with the Biden administration by providing scientific expertise to further inform equitable and evidence-based policy decisions.”

Kathleen C. Weathers,
President, Ecological Society of America