Published On: Sun, Jul 1st, 2018

State Department announces 2018 U.S. Science Envoys

Five distinguished scientists will begin service as U.S. Science Envoys in June 2018: Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden Jr., Dr. Robert S. Langer, Dr. Michael Osterholm, Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Dr. James Schauer. Through the Science Envoy Program, eminent U.S. scientists and engineers leverage their expertise and networks to forge connections and identify opportunities for sustained international cooperation, championing innovation and demonstrating America’s scientific leadership and technical ingenuity.

Like their 18 predecessors, these distinguished scientists will engage internationally at the citizen and government levels to enhance relationships between other nations and the United States, develop partnerships, and improve collaboration. Science Envoys leverage their international leadership, influence, and expertise in priority countries to advance solutions to shared science and technology challenges. Science Envoys travel as private citizens and help inform the Department of State, a variety of U.S. government agencies, and the scientific community about opportunities for science and technology cooperation.

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Charles Frank Bolden Jr., (Maj. Gen. USMC-Ret.), recently retired from service as the twelfth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At NASA, Bolden oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of space shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics technology development. A former astronaut, Bolden served aboard four space shuttle missions. As a Science Envoy for Space, Bolden will promote American leadership in space exploration and emphasize the importance of commercial opportunities.

Robert S. Langer, ScD., FREng, is one of 13 Institute Professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a position that is considered MIT’s highest honor. Langer has received more than 220 major awards and is one of four living individuals to have received both the United States National Medal of Science (2006) and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011). Langer’s research is at the interface of medicine, materials science, and chemical engineering. As a Science Envoy for Innovation, Dr. Langer will focus on novel approaches in biomaterials, drug delivery systems, nanotechnology and tissue engineering, and the U.S. approach to research commercialization.

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Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., MPH, is Regents Professor, the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health at the University of Minnesota, and is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). Dr. Osterholm is an international leader regarding preparedness for a global pandemic as well as the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. As a Science Envoy for Health Security, Dr. Osterholm will combat biological threats by working with priority countries on infectious disease preparedness and antimicrobial stewardship.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D., is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor, Professor of Bioengineering, Director of the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health and Founder of the Beyond Traditional Borders Undergraduate Global Health Program at Rice University. Dr. Richards-Kortum specializes in creating new technologies to provide health care to vulnerable populations. As a Science Envoy for Health Security, Dr. Richards-Kortum will focus on expanding access to American engineering research and curriculum to build engineering capacity and opportunities for U.S. science and technology collaboration with African countries.

James Schauer, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is the Director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, the state’s public and environmental health laboratory, and operates as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Engineering since 1998 and holds the position of Peterson-Radar-Hawnn Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. As a Science Envoy for Air Quality, Dr. Schauer will highlight American scientific strategies and technologies for mitigating poor air quality, with a focus on South Asia.

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