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Executive Message: April 2010

Communication and other catalysts

EPA Assistant Administrator Paul Anastas

Catalyst. As a chemist I learned that a catalyst is a chemical that speeds up a chemical transformation and remains unchanged after that transformation takes place.  However, over the years, I have discovered that catalysts are not limited to chemicals and engaging in catalysis is not limited to chemists.  In fact, communication can be a catalyst. 

It is in that spirit that I welcome you to the inaugural issue of Science Matters, a newsletter devoted to sharing the innovative environmental and human health science being conducted at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As I begin my time as the Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD), I am acutely aware that all of us as individuals and collectively as an Office and Agency will need to act catalytically if we are to achieve our mission of protecting human health and the environment. 

That means that we have to ensure that our science, our research, our assessments, and our technical support is not only useful to the immediate work of the EPA (which is essential), but also to the greater community of individuals who share our mission.  We need our work to engage, inform, and empower their efforts to protect the environment and human health whether they are in academia, industry, non-governmental institutions, other branches of government, or—our ultimate reason for the work we do—the American public.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has set forth seven important priority areas as the framework for our research.  The wide range of talents in ORD is up to the ambitious challenge that these priority areas identify. 

By looking at the new environmental challenges we face with the fresh perspective and ingenuity that is the hallmark of science and technology, I believe that we can make contributions that will serve the generation of today's Americans and perhaps most importantly, the generations of Americans yet to come.  We can do it by thinking creatively, proceeding expeditiously, and acting...catalytically.

Paul T. Anastas
Assistant Administrator
Office of Research and Development

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