Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma, is in the running to be science and technology advisor to President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reports. It adds that others are also under consideration.
The Post notes that there are technically two science and technology posts open at the White House — the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and assistant to the president on science and technology — though those positions have in the past typically been filled by the same person. During the Obama Administration, John Holdren held those positions, and they've been open since his departure.
The Huffington Post noted last month that this yearlong gap is the longest the OSTP spot has been vacant since its creation in 1976. Overall, the office is smaller than it was previously, with about 50 aides, as compared to 130, which has led some to be concerned that it's stretched too thin to tackle key issues such as biosecurity and cybersecurity, the Washington Post adds.
"Symbolically, [having a science advisor] signals science and technology is at the table in the administration's policymaking," Kumar Garg, who was an innovation policy aide during the Obama Administration, tells the Post. "But also substantively, because the science adviser is the principal who gets invited to senior strategy meetings ... on critical topics."