“The truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s about protecting free and open inquiry,” said then-President-elect Barack Obama in December, in announcing his appointment of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center President Harold Varmus as Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Eric Lander, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and John Holdren, a professor at the Kennedy School at Harvard, will join Dr. Varmus as co-chairs. (Dr. Holdren will also take on a full-time position as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.)
“Dr. Varmus is no stranger to this work,” Mr. Obama observed. “He served as Director of the National Institutes of Health during the Clinton administration [from 1993 through 1999]. I am grateful that he has answered the call to serve again … Working with these leaders, we will seek to draw on the power of science to both meet our challenges across the globe and revitalize our economy here at home.”
“I’m very pleased by this assignment because of my great admiration for Barack Obama and the team he is assembling,” said Dr. Varmus, “and because it is an opportunity to contribute as a scientist to the solutions to many problems the nation and the world now confront.” Dr. Varmus added that he will serve in the Obama administration in an advisory capacity and will continue as President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering.