The US Senate late Wednesday confirmed extreme-weather specialist Kelvin Droegemeier as President Donald Trump’s top science and technology adviser, after a lengthy vacancy.
Droegemeier will be the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, advising the president on science matters that affect the country’s economy, national security, environment, health and foreign relations. The role had been vacant for nearly two years, the office’s longest stretch without a leader.
The OSTP staffing level has plummeted under the Trump administration, which has alienated many scientists, in particular over the issue of global climate change. Former OSTP director John Holdren, who served during the presidency of Barack Obama, told the journal Science in 2017 that the office had peaked at 135 employees but dropped to 35.
Droegemeier previously served as vice president of research and professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. A meteorologist by training, Droegemeier has also been active in government, serving as Oklahoma’s secretary of science and technology. He was also appointed to the National Science Board in 2004 and 2011.
Droegemeier didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.