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April 17, 2009 2:34 PM

Gates Foundation's Raj Shah picked for White House post

Posted by Kristi Heim

Rajiv Shah, the 36-year-old director of agricultural development at the Gates Foundation, was nominated today as an Under Secretary and Chief Scientist within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a White House press release.


He has been nominated to head Research, Education, and Economics at the USDA, where he would have jurisdiction over food safety issues, energy and climate, agricultural productivity and global food security.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called Shah "a globally recognized leader in science, health and economics ... disciplines that are critical to the missions of this department."

Shah, who joined the Gates Foundation in 2001, previously served as health care policy adviser on Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. A native of Detroit, he has a medical degree and a master's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Shah is considered one of the Gates Foundation's sharpest executives. His bio is here.

He lives in Seattle with his wife, Shivam, and their two young children. He is a trustee of the Seattle Community College District and a board member of the Seattle Public Library.

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