John Holdren Returns to Harvard Kennedy School

Contact: Sharon Wilke
Phone: 617-495-9858
Contact Organization: Belfer Center
Date: February 15, 2017

Cambridge, MA -- John Holdren, former national science adviser to President Barack Obama, will rejoin the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) faculty as the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy. The appointment, announced by HKS Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf, will begin Feb. 15, 2017.

Holdren has spent the past eight years as the senior adviser to Obama on science and technology issues, in roles that included Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). He is the longest serving presidential science advisor in U.S. history, surpassing Vannevar Bush, who served in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.

Holdren will join Dan Schrag in co-directing the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at HKS. He also was a professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center before joining the Obama administration.

“Professor Holdren embodies the ideals of the Kennedy School: scholarly rigor, uncompromising devotion to the best available evidence, scrupulous integrity, and boundless energy in pursuit of the public good,” said Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship and Academic Dean at HKS. “We are thrilled to welcome him back to the Kennedy School after the great public service he has performed for his President and for our country.”

Holdren holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2005, as Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control from 1994 to 2005, and as Co-Chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy from 2002 to 2009.

His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995 he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures in which he held leadership positions from 1982 to 1997.

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