President Obama Appoints Levin to National Advisory Post on Science

President Richard C. Levin is among 20 of the nation’s distinguished scientists, engineers and educators who have been selected by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Economics, President Levin is the only economist on the Council.

PCAST will advise President Obama and Vice President Biden and help formulate policy in areas where understanding of science, technology and innovation is key to strengthening the economy and enhancing the lives of Americans, according to the White House.

Read the official White House press release »

“This council represents leaders from many scientific disciplines who will bring a diversity of experience and views,” Obama said in his April 27 announcement of composition of PCAST, during remarks at the National Academy of Sciences. “I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation,” President Obama said.

Yale’s president since 1993, Levin is a noted economist with interests in industrial organization, the patent system and the competiveness of American manufacturing industries. One of his top priorities has been to establish the University’s prominence in science education and clinical research. Under his leadership, over $1 billion has been invested in new and renovated medical and science facilities on the main campus, and in the acquisition of the 136-acre Bayer Healthcare complex in West Haven.

Levin is also an advocate and leader of the emerging role of higher education in responding to the challenge of sustainable development. He has inspired the leaders of Yale’s peer institutions, both nationally and internationally, to address the pressing issue of climate change.

This is not the first time President Levin has been called into national service. In 2003 he served on presidential commission reviewing the U.S. Postal Service and in 2004 was appointed to the Iraq Intelligence Commission, an independent panel convened to investigate U.S. intelligence surrounding the US invasion of Iraq and Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. As a member of the board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy at the National Academy of Science, he co-chaired a committee that examined the effects of intellectual property rights policies on economic and scientific progress and made recommendations for reform of the patent system.

PCAST will be co-chaired by John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project; and Harold Varmus, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and former head of the National Institutes of Health.

The other members of PCAST are Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan; Christine Cassel, chief executive officer of the American Board of Internal Medicine; Christopher Chyba, professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton University; James Gates Jr., the John S. Toll Professor of Physics and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland-College Park; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Chad Mirkin, professor of materials science and engineering, chemistry and medicine at Northwestern University and director of its International Institute of Nanotechnology; Mario Molina, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California-San Diego and the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well as director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment in Mexico City; Ernest J. Moniz, professor of physics and engineering systems, director of the Energy Initiative and director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft Corporation.

Also William Press, professor of computer sciences at the University of Texas-Austin and professor of astronomy and physics at Harvard University; Maxine Savitz, a retired general manager of technology partnerships at Honeywell, Inc. and former deputy assistant secretary for conservation in the U.S. Department of Energy; Barbara Schaal (GRD’74), professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis; Eric Schmidt, chair and chief executive officer of Google Inc.; Daniel Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and professor of environmental science and engineering at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Center for Environment; David E. Shaw, chief scientist of D.E. Shaw Research LLC; and Ahmed Zewail, professor of chemistry and physics at the Caltech and director of the Physical Biology Center.

Both Dr Varmus and Dr Molina, who is a Nobel Laureate, have received honorary degrees from Yale.

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