President Donald Trump is to nominate Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma, to be the White House science and technology advisor, the Washington Post reports.
The top spot at the Office of Science and Technology Policy has been vacant since the start of the Trump Administration. That vacancy has raised concerns that the president and the White House have not been receiving adequate science advice, especially as reports have suggested that the science division of the office is largely empty.
Over the past year and a half, a few names have been floated to take the position, with Droegemeier mentioned as a possibility earlier this year. Droegemeier, an extreme weather expert, is the vice president for research and the regents' professor of meteorology at Oklahoma and serves as Oklahoma Cabinet secretary of science and technology, CBS News reports. He has previously served on the federal National Science Board under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Post adds.
"I think he is a very solid choice," John Holdren, who led OSTP during the Obama Administration, tells Nature. "He is a respected senior scientist and he has experience in speaking science to power."
Nature adds that Droegemeier appears to be a supporter of federally funded research, as he wrote an opinion piece with the University of Iowa's Daniel Reed in the Des Moines Register last year that argued that investment in basic research helps fuel the US economy. "Balanced, predictable and stable funding for research and development … is essential for the United States to remain a world leader in research and a translator of research outcomes into practical products and services that benefit all of our citizens," they wrote.