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Google CEO Tapped for Council

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By Jill R. Aitoro April 27, 2009

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Google's chief executive officer is one of 20 individuals that will advise the president and vice president in formulating policy about science, technology and innovation.

Eric Schmidt, Google chairman of the board and CEO, is the only person named to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST, that comes directly from the information technology community. Prior to joining Google in 2001, he held executive positions at Novell and Sun Microsystems.

Schmidt will join experts in the areas of nanotechnology, oceanography, climate-change science and ecology, and solar system exploration, to name a few, in advising the administration about "national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation," President Obama said in a statement.

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 MIT and Harvard and one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project; and Harold Varmus, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a Nobel laureate.

PCAST members under the George W. Bush administration wrote a transition letter that highlighted for their successors operational procedures and critical issues identified during their two terms on the council, and suggested that the new council work closely with the administration -- conducting interviews with people in the White House as well as in cabinet agencies -- to determine topics of study.

"The important role played by science and technology in our modern society can not be overemphasized," the previous council wrote in the letter. "As a result, the importance of dedicated individuals to provide advice to future administrations will be of growing importance."

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