Former NOAA chief will serve as one of several top scientists in newly created posts

Several prominent scientists will serve as the US’s new science envoys, developing scientific partnerships and cooperation between the US and other nations. These incoming emissaries will start their work in January 2015 and include Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist and ecologist who formerly headed the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is currently a marine sciences professor at Oregon State University.

Lubchenco, who became the NOAA’s administrator in 2009, resigned in February 2013 amid criticism that her agency accepted BP’s low estimates for the amount of oil leaking as a result of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana. As a science envoy, Lubchenco will focus on oceanic research.

Another of new envoys will be Arun Majumdar, who served as the first director of the US Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy – the agency tasked with promoting and funding research and development of advanced energy technologies – is now a professor in Stanford University’s mechanical engineering department. Majumdar will focus on promoting collaborations with Poland and countries in the Baltics.

The two other science envoys will be Peter Hotez, dean of the Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine, US, whose country focus will be Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and Geraldine Richmond, a chemistry professor at the University of Oregon, US, who also founded the COACh grass-roots organisation that aims to increase the number, and career success of, women scientists and engineers and the president-elect for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her country focus will be Thailand and lower Mekong countries like Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.