News: Former White House Science Policymaker Kei Koizumi Shares Experiences at Tech

Kei Koizumi

Posted April 15, 2017

A major player in the science and public policy world recently visited Georgia Tech to share his experiences. Kei Koizumi, who spent most of the past eight years working under former President Barack Obama, visited the School of Public Policy and spoke with the Georgia Tech community on Thursday, March 30.

Koizumi, who served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Science and Technology Council for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for essentially the entire Obama Administration, came to Tech to discuss science and technology for policy, going into detail with real examples learned during his eight-year stint in his department. Koizumi also drew on his real-world experiences to explain the importance of a central organization at the highest level of government to formulate, implement, and coordinate science-related policy. 

With the science-policy field being such a specific interest to pursue professionally, Koizumi is fond of recounting how his education led him down the niche path. 

“I first got involved in grad school because I wound up in a science, technology, and public policy program at George Washington University, and it was really interesting to me,” Koizumi said. Fascinated by the interactions between scientists, engineers and policy makers to make important decisions, Koizumi continued to pursue science policy as a career path after graduate school.  

Though modest about his accomplishments, the White House experiences that Koizumi discussed during his presentation at Georgia Tech were particularly vital to the country’s science policy function over much of the past decade. 

“At the White House, my primary role was to make sure that the president had all of the information he needed to make good decisions about how the federal government should support research, should support graduate education in the sciences, and support getting results of research out into the public so that it can be useful,” Koizumi shared. 

Since recently changing roles to become a Visiting Scholar for the American Association of the Advancement of Science, Koizumi’s day-to-day life has altered a good bit. One of the secondary purposes of his visit to School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech was to visit Dr. Kaye Husbands Fealing, Professor and Chair of the School of Public Policy who is a former close colleague in science policy research, and to meet with other influential faculty in the SPP community. 

“Georgia Tech is where so many of the people I’ve worked with and learned from are here in science and policy – whether it’s Kaye Husbands Fealing or Julia Melkers or Diana Hicks. So it’s exciting,” Koizumi commented. “It’s one of the research universities that I worked on behalf of when I was at the White House to make sure that they had the resources and the support they needed to do all the wonderful research and education that happens here.”

Despite his hectic schedule during his visit, Koizumi felt that his visit to Tech’s SPP community left a lasting impression on him. “I love Georgia Tech,” Koizumi said. “There’s so much going on. And now I understand about all of the excellent research and excellent people who come and visit me in Washington and where they get the source of their inspiration.”