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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Friday that he will make the top White House science post a Cabinet-level position for the first time in U.S. history.

The big picture: Biden said he has picked Eric Lander to be his presidential science adviser and he will nominate the geneticist as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Biden also announced other key members of his science team, including Francis Collins, who will stay on as director of the National Institutes of Health.

The White House science team includes:

  • Lander, who will be nominated as OSTP director and serve as the presidential science adviser.
  • Alondra Nelson, who will serve as the OSTP deputy director for science and society.
  • Frances Arnold and Maria Zuber, who will serve as the external co-chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
  • Collins, who will continue to lead the NIH.
  • Kei Koizumi, who will serve as OSTP chief of staff.
  • Narda Jones, who will serve as OSTP legislative affairs director.

What he's saying: “Science will always be at the forefront of my administration — and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and the truth," Biden said in a statement.

  • "Their trusted guidance will be essential as we come together to end this pandemic, bring our economy back, and pursue new breakthroughs to improve the quality of life of all Americans."

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.