WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences has selected Norman P. Neureiter to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for public good. The Academy chose Neureiter for enhancing the status of science and technology in the U.S. State Department as the first science and technology adviser to the secretary of state and for spurring international cooperation in science and technology under U.S. leadership.
"Dr. Neureiter's wise counsel on international science and technology issues is rivaled by few," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "Today we honor him for successfully integrating science and technology into U.S. foreign policy."
Neureiter has long sought to integrate science into the development of national and international public policy, a key goal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy, which Neureiter has directed since its inception in 2004. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the center serves as a two-way information portal between academics and the Washington policy community.
Well known as a leader in science and diplomacy, Neureiter was selected in September 2000 to serve a three-year term as the first science and technology adviser to the secretary of state, first under Madeline Albright, then Colin Powell. As the principal liaison with the national and international science communities, he successfully led a fivefold increase in the number of science and diplomacy fellows in the State Department, and increased the dialogue between the diplomatic and academic science communities, along with building new international partnerships. With India, for example, he implemented the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum to promote bilateral science and technology cooperation between the U.S. and India, and continues to serve as the U.S. co-chair of this organization.
The position of science and technology adviser was created based on recommendations from a National Research Council report, THE PERVASIVE ROLE OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH IN FOREIGN POLICY: IMPERATIVES FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. The report urged the secretary of state to appoint a highly qualified senior adviser for science, technology, and health who could provide advice to the Department of State on the technical dimensions of current and emerging foreign policy issues drawing in the resources of the American scientific communities, as needed.
A Distinguished Presidential Fellow for International Affairs at the National Academies, Neureiter served on numerous Academies' boards and committees, including the International Advisory Board, the Space Studies Board, the Committee on Scientific Communication and National Security, and the Committee on Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States. Most recently, Neureiter was a part of a U.S. National Academies' delegation that traveled to Iran in October 2007 to expand a program of scientific cooperation with Iranian researchers and education centers.
Neureiter began his career in 1957 at Humble Oil and Refining as a research chemist while also teaching German and Russian at the University of Houston. On a four-month leave from his laboratory in 1959, he served as a guide in Moscow at the U.S. National Exhibition -- one of the United States first engagement initiatives with the Soviet Union. Fluent in seven languages, Neureiter became a part-time escort interpreter for the U.S. Department of State, working with the first Soviet petroleum delegation to the U.S. as well as informal U.S.-Soviet nuclear test-ban treaty discussions in the early 1960s.
With a desire to combine his science background with his interest in languages and global affairs, Neureiter joined the International Affairs Office of the National Science Foundation. There he became the first permanent program director of the U.S-Japan Cooperative Science Program created by President Kennedy to address the "broken dialogue" between the intellectual and scientific communities of the two countries through cooperation in science.
Transitioning from a research-based focus to the field of international scientific and technical affairs, Neureiter became a Foreign Service reserve officer and went to Germany as a deputy scientific attache' at the U.S. embassy. He later became the first U.S. scientific attache' in Eastern Europe, based in Warsaw from 1967-69 with responsibility for Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, where he witnessed the impact of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the stormy student protests in Poland.
From 1969 to 1973, as assistant to President Nixon's science advisers Lee DuBridge and Ed David, he was responsible for international affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology. There he led the establishment of the first cooperative science agreement with the U.S.S.R. that was signed at the Nixon-Brezhnev summit in 1972, and prepared scientific initiatives for use in the discussions that led to the Nixon-Kissinger diplomatic breakthrough with China that same year.
In 1973, Neureiter joined Texas Instruments (TI), where he held a number of positions during his 23-year tenure dealing with corporate external relations, European marketing, and international business development, retiring in 1996 as vice president, TI Asia.
Born in Illinois, Neureiter grew up near Rochester, N.Y. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He spent a year at the University of Munich as a Fulbright Fellow in the Institute of Organic Chemistry.
"Neureiter has dedicated much of his life to building peaceful and constructive relations between the U.S. and other countries and, particularly, in using science and technology cooperation as an effective instrument for developing those relationships," said John Brauman, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the Public Welfare Medal selection committee.
The Public Welfare Medal, consisting of a medal and an illuminated scroll, will be presented to Neureiter on April 27 during the Academy's 145th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Previous recipients of the medal include William T. Golden, Maxine F. Singer, Norman R. Augustine, and Carl Sagan.
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter.
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