Eric Davidson served as a science advisor to the Office of Environmental Quality (ENV) within the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) at the U.S. Department of State. The Jefferson Science Fellowship is run by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine “as an innovative model for engaging the American academic science, technology, engineering, and medical communities in U.S. foreign policy and international development.”
During the 2021-2022 fellowship year, Davidson assisted with preparations for the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2), including consideration of a resolution on reducing losses of reactive nitrogen to the environment. He also helped scope out the USG position on upcoming negotiations of a new international agreement on combatting plastic pollution.
Davidson’s Jefferson Science Fellowship Lecture, entitled “Manure Happens: Human Alteration of the Global Nitrogen Cycle; The Nitrogen “Equities” of the State Department” can be viewed here: https://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/Jefferson/PGA_374834.
Davidson is continuing to work with the ENV office as an unpaid consultant and representative on the Nitrogen Working Group of the United Nations Environment Programme. He also participated in the State Department’s “Diplomacy Lab” by offering an Issues Study Group within the MEES curriculum. The course, entitled “Narrowing Knowledge Gaps in Support of an International Treaty to Combat Plastic Pollution(MEES718Y) was taught in the autumn of 2022. The eleven students enrolled in the class came from several MEES campuses, including UMES, UMCP, and all four UMCES labs: AL, CBL, HPL, and IMET. Diplomats from the ENV office met with the class at the beginning and midpoint of the semester and the students presented findings on their research in person at State at the end of the semester.