Five months into the job, Kelvin Droegemeier tells Nature what it’s like to work with the US president.
When meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February, he inherited an office that had been without a leader for two years — and became the top science adviser to President Donald Trump.
Trump’s push to cut government spending on research, and his policies on issues such as immigration, have caused controversy in science. Nature spoke to Droegemeier in mid-April — two months into his tenure — about these policies, his plans and what it’s like to work with the president. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The number of OSTP staff dropped precipitously during Trump’s first two years in office. What is the situation now?
The lights were definitely on, and there was a lot of work actually getting done. We have people cycle through. Some of them are on detail for a year, so there’s kind of a constant refresh. I have brought additional people on board in some of the areas that I’m going to be working on a little bit more.