State selects 4 new Science Envoys

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Four U.S. scientists and researchers will work in the State Department’s Science Envoy Program.

The State Department unveiled its 2024 cohort of science envoys to represent U.S. scientific interests and advance international partnerships.

Four American scientists; Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, Dr. Stephanie Diem, Dr. Sian Proctor, and Dr. Dawn Wright, will join State’s U.S. Science Envoy program. The new cohort brings expertise in data science, nuclear engineering and physics, geosciences, and oceanography. 

The program was established by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010, and has since included a total of 30 science envoys.

“Science Envoys help inform the Department of State, other U.S. government agencies, and the scientific community about opportunities for science and technology cooperation,” the press release reads. “The Department selected the 2024 cohort to take advantage of their expertise in key issues facing the world today:  Artificial Intelligence; Fusion Energy; Civil Use of Space; and Ocean Sustainability.”

The program will also continue research from three members from the 2023 cohort: Dr. Jessica Gephart from the University of Washington, Dr. Prineha Narang from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dr. Kyle Whyte from the University of Michigan. Topics these researchers will focus on include quantum information sciences, environmental sciences and indigenous knowledge, and unregulated fishing. 

Tech diplomacy has emerged as a key State department priority amid the rapid advent of disruptive technologies such as generative AI, with the dual goals of evangelizing common scientific standards and ethics while fostering international collaboration.

AI is a critical talking point between State officials and ally nations, particularly surrounding the development and adoption of global standards for AI design and deployment and shoring up international teamwork as China works to dominate the emerging tech development.