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Chief Science Officer (CSO) is a position at the head of scientific research operations at companies performing significant scientific research projects. The CSO typically is responsible for developing research capabilities (human, methodological, and technological), for developing evidence of the validity and utility of research products, and for communicating with the scientific and customer communities concerning capabilities and scientific product offerings.
In some organizations, the same person may hold this title along with that of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Alternatively, a company could have one or the other, or both occupied by separate people. Often, a Chief Science Officer exists in heavily research-oriented companies, while a Chief Technology Officer exists in product development focused companies. The typical category of Research and Development that exists in many science/technology companies could be led by either post, depending upon which area is the organization's primary focus.
A Chief Science Officer almost always has a basic/pure science background and advanced degree, whereas a Chief Technology Officer often has a background in engineering and/or business development.
Some academic research organizations, such as Fox Chase Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center have adopted a similar title of Chief Scientific Officer. Typically, their role is to evaluate and set scientific priorities and coordinate the administrative structure that supports scientists. A Chief Scientific Officer commonly has a scientific or academic background, yet they may or may not be practicing scientists or academics.
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