Biden taps 2 to step in for ousted science adviser Lander

February 16, 2022 GMT
FILE - President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Alondra Nelson speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Biden was expected to elevate Nelson, currently the deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to become the temporary director of the office. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
FILE - President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Alondra Nelson speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Biden was expected to elevate Nelson, currently the deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to become the temporary director of the office. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
FILE - President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Alondra Nelson speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Biden was expected to elevate Nelson, currently the deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to become the temporary director of the office. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
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FILE - President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Alondra Nelson speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Biden was expected to elevate Nelson, currently the deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to become the temporary director of the office. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
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FILE - President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Alondra Nelson speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Biden was expected to elevate Nelson, currently the deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to become the temporary director of the office. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is replacing a top science adviser who resigned under a cloud with two individuals who will split his duties on an interim basis.

Biden announced Wednesday that Alondra Nelson, currently deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will become the temporary director of the office.

Biden also announced that he has lured Dr. Francis Collins out of retirement to serve temporarily as the president’s chief science adviser. Collins had retired in December after serving 12 years as director of the National Institutes of Health.

Both Nelson and Collins will serve until Biden names permanent replacements. The Senate must vote to confirm any nominee to lead the science and technology policy office.

Eric Lander, who had served in the dual roles of Biden’s chief science adviser and head of the science and technology office, resigned last week after the White House confirmed that an internal investigation had found credible evidence that he had mistreated staff.

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The internal review last year, prompted by a workplace complaint, found evidence that Lander had bullied staffers and treated them disrespectfully. The White House rebuked Lander and initially signaled that he would be allowed to keep his job, but he later resigned.

Lander was the first Cabinet-level departure of the Biden administration.