U.S. DOT appoints science officer for the first time in more than four decades

Robert C. Hampshire (Courtesy Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan)

With President Joe Biden putting an new emphasis on science and the environment, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it is appointing a chief science officer for the entire department for the first time in more than four decades.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has designated Robert C. Hampshire, assistant secretary for Research and Technology, as the department’s chief science officer.  

“The re-introduction of a chief science officer underscores transportation’s key role in addressing the complexity and criticality of our dynamically changing climate, " Hampshire said. "I look forward to working across all modes of transportation to address the immediate concerns, and to ensure our future transportation system is sustainable. It is important that USDOT incorporate scientific research to advance climate change initiatives that are fair and equitable to all.” 

Said Buttigieg: "Climate resilience and environmental justice are at the heart of this administration’s mission to build back better and that effort must be grounded in scientific expertise." 

The department’s actions stem from the president’s executive orders: Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis and the Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking