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Science Regaining Influence Within USAID, Official Says

“Science is now more influential within [USAD] than it has been for the last two decades, in part catalyzed by the creation of the chief scientist role three years ago, says an agency official following … last week’s news that Alex Dehgan, the agency’s chief scientist since 2010, has stepped down, leaving the position empty until a suitable successor is found,” SciDev.Net reports. “This rise in importance is representative of a broader shift within the development community, as practitioners have come to accept that science must be integral to any activities, says Susan Reichle, counselor to USAID, who works in the administrator’s office,” the news service writes. “Under the leadership of Dehgan and Rajiv Shah, the USAID administrator, the agency has reinstated scientific expertise at the heart of its work, she says,” SciDev.Net continues. “The wide range of science-related initiatives and organizations established since 2010 are testament to this effort, she adds,” the news service writes, and highlights some of these initiatives. The news service also quotes John Daly, a former USAID official, and Linda Staheli, a senior staff associate from CRDF Global (Piotrowski, 12/17).