US State Department Names New Science Envoys

The five high-profile scientists are charged with helping strengthen international cooperation.

Shawna Williams
Shawna Williams
Jun 13, 2018

artist rendition of State Department building at sunsetU.S. DIPLOMACY CENTERFive new science envoys have been named to one-year terms that begin this month, the US Department of State announced last week (June 8). The new appointees, Charles Bolden Jr., Robert Langer, Michael Osterholm, Rebecca Richards-Kortum, and James Schauer, join continuing envoys Margaret Leinen and Thomas Lovejoy.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be involved with countries around the world on specific topics through official government channels,” Osterholm, who directs the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, tells Science Insider. He explains that he plans to work in low- and middle-income countries to tackle antibiotic overuse and bacterial resistance to the drugs.

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The envoys, all prominent leaders in their fields, span a range of specializations. Bolden is a former astronaut and NASA administrator; Langer is an MIT professor focusing on biotechnology and materials science; Richards-Kortum directs the Rice 360º Institute for Global Health at Rice University; and Schauer directs the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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