WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Bush Administration has made its second science-related job appointment. President George W. Bush today named Floyd Kvamme, a former computer industry executive and venture capitalist, to lead his science advisory panel. The key position of presidential science advisor still remains empty.
The President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is an all-volunteer panel stocked with high-profile researchers and industry chiefs. Run out of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), it meets periodically and is supposed to give the president advice on hot science policy topics. But past presidents, including Bill Clinton, have typically paid little attention to the group's efforts.
In naming Kvamme, however, Bush said that "science and technology have never been more essential to the defense of the nation and the health of our economy." He praised Kvamme, a partner in the California venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as "a risk-taker" who "knows the players, the people that can bring good, sound advice to this Administration." Kvamme's resume also includes extensive stints at computer companies Apple and National Semiconductor. He is an electrical engineer by training.
The reaction of the scientific community to Kvamme's appointment was muted, with several lobbyists saying he was an unknown quantity. There was also surprise that Bush had moved ahead with the PCAST appointment before naming a full-time science advisor. So far, the Administration's only other science-related appointment is former congressional staffer Richard Russell, who was chosen last month to be OSTP's chief of staff.