Dr. E. William Colglazier was appointed in July 2011 as the fourth Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State. The mission of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary (STAS) is to provide scientific and technical expertise and advice in support of the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. The Adviser serves as an advocate for science-based policy at the State Department, helps to identify and evaluate emerging scientific and technical issues that affect U.S. strategic interests, brings scientific expertise to the Department, and helps to promote scientific and technological capacity-building and science-based policymaking internationally. The Adviser also provides outreach to the U.S. and international scientific community and helps to facilitate scientific cooperation between the United States and other countries.
From 1994 to 2011, Dr. Colglazier served as Executive Officer of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Research Council (NRC). From 2000 to 2011 he also served as NRC Chief Operating Officer. In these roles he helped to oversee the studies conducted by the NRC, which is the operating arm of the NAS, the National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. Working together they provide independent, objective advice to the nation on public policy issues where insights and expertise from science, technology, and medicine are needed. From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Colglazier was Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs of the NAS and NRC, overseeing collaborative projects with scientific organizations in many countries.
From 1983 to 1991, he was Professor of Physics and Director of the Energy, Environment, and Resources Center at the University of Tennessee where he worked closely with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1971, and prior to 1983 worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. While at Harvard, he also served as Associate Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Humanism of the Aspen Institute. In 1976-77, he was an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow working for Congressman George Brown. He is past chair of the Forum on Physics and Society of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.
Dr. Colglazier strongly supports global scientific engagement by the United States to help advance science, solve global problems, and advance diplomacy. All countries see science and technology as important drivers of modern economies, instruments for national defense and homeland security, providers of new knowledge for improving public health, and essential assets for helping solve national, regional, and global problems. In this era of globalization where competition comes from smart people everywhere, the U.S. can remain at the cutting edge and a world leader in science and technology only by engaging with the scientific and technical communities in other countries. Such interaction also helps to encourage other countries to rely on their scientific and technical communities for science-based advice on important public policy issues.