News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

John Holdren Named to National Academies’ Polar Research Board

| Dec. 06, 2022

John P. Holdren, Co-Director of the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative and former Science Advisor to President Obama, has been appointed to the National Academies’ Polar Research Board (PRB). The PRB, composed of 19 independent senior experts across a wide range of scientific disciplines, exists to promote excellence in polar science and to provide independent scientific guidance to U.S. federal agencies and the nation on science issues in the Arctic, the Antarctic, and cold regions in general. 

Established in 1958, the PRB strives to make research in the polar regions more productive and responsive to the needs of the United States, maintain U.S. awareness of and representation in international science programs, and enhance understanding of issues in polar regions. PRB members serve an essential role in advising Board activities, developing new project areas, and engaging with federal and other stakeholders in support of polar science research and addressing societal needs.

Holdren’s appointment to the PRB is a reflection of his long service to the Academies—he was appointed to his first Academy committee in 1970—and his increasing prominence in Arctic affairs over the past decade. During his time as the Science Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, his many responsibilities included overseeing the U.S. Global Change Research Program, helping to draft a new U.S. Arctic Strategy, and serving as the founding Chair of interagency Arctic Executive Steering Committee, which is responsible for advancing communication and collaboration across the 25 federal departments and agencies with Arctic responsibilities. 

An elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, Holdren has received each Academy’s highest award for public service.

"The impacts of climate change are growing faster in the Arctic than in any other part of the world, and the Antarctic is not far behind,” said Holdren. “The geophysical and socioeconomic consequences of what is happening near the two poles affect all of us. The role of the Polar Research Board in advancing scientific and policymaker understanding of all this has never been more important.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hanlon, Elizabeth. “John Holdren Named to National Academies’ Polar Research Board.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, December 6, 2022.

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John P. Holdren