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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:

  • Agricultural Systems and Technology
  • Animal Health and Production, and Animal Products
  • Plant Health and Production, and Plant Products
  • Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment
  • Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
  • 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 and has provided coordination and leadership on the following important documents related to agricultural science and research.

AGARDA: A Vision for Disruptive Science to Confront Audacious Challenges

Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA) Implementation Strategy (PDF, 1.8 MB) is a framework outlining a new approach for delivering disruptive breakthrough discoveries for agriculture.

USDA Science Blueprint

The USDA Science Blueprint (PDF, 2.6 MB) sets a vision for USDA science initiatives for 2020-2025.

Adoption of USDA Innovations

The FY 2020 Annual Technology Transfer Report (PDF, 17 MB) covers technology-transfer activities and metrics for USDA.

Behavioral Factors in the Adoption and Diffusion of USDA Innovations (PDF, 1.2 MB) provides information on how behavioral factors can support adoption and diffusion of USDA innovations drawing on published literature and highlights from multiple USDA agency programs.

Strategic Planning, Performance & Program Evaluation

Research Rigor and Reproducibility

Listening Session on Visioning of U.S. Agriculture Systems for Sustainable Production

Sustainable Intensification of Agricultural Production: Plant and Animal Production, Health, Genetics and Outreach

Antimicrobial Resistance

Climate and Energy Needs

Climate Variability


Natural Resources: Water, Landscape Conservation

Water Availability: Quality and Quantity

Nutrition & Childhood Obesity

Food Safety

Education & Literacy