Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) | USDA
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Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS)

The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) was established in accordance with the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to provide strategic coordination of the science that informs the Department's and the Federal government's decisions, policies and regulations that impact all aspects of U.S. food and agriculture and related landscapes and communities.

OCS advises USDA's Chief Scientist and the Secretary of Agriculture in the following areas of science:

  • Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment
  • Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
  • Plant Health and Production, and Plant Products
  • Animal Health and Production, and Animal Products
  • Agricultural Systems and Technology
  • Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities

Our work supports larger goals of scientific prioritization and coordination across the entire Department through which federal agencies provide Senior Advisors to serve in a detail capacity within OCS. We identify, prioritize and evaluate Department-wide agricultural research, education, and extension needs. In addition, the Office of the Chief Scientist regularly convenes a USDA Science Council to further facilitate cross-Departmental scientific coordination and collaboration.

We provide scientific leadership by ensuring that research supported by and scientific advice provided to the Department and its stakeholders is held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity. OCS supports the Department's international scientific engagements.

USDA Science White Papers

In 2012, the Office of the Chief Scientist released a summary of USDA's role supporting the science behind the Bioeconomy (PDF, 199KB) and peer-reviewed science papers that elaborate on USDA's Action Plan for science (PDF, 293KB) in several key areas: