Lead scientist to improve government capacity for evidence-based policy

The NC Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) has announced the selection of David Yokum for the newly created role of Chief Scientist. The addition of a senior scientist in the state budget office will strengthen the central role of evidence-based evaluation in the state government’s decision-making process.

“As a state, we are always looking for ways to determine whether our programs and policies are effective and to explore what else is out there that could be more effective,” said State Budget Officer Kristin Walker. “By making this role a central part of the state budget, we can look at our processes – whether budget development, training or strategic planning – with a new lens. It will take North Carolina to a new level of evidence-based decision making.”

As Chief Scientist at OSBM, David will contribute to evidence-based policy making and performance management within OSBM and across state government. He will provide leadership, ideas and technical expertise for multiple activities within OSBM’s Operational Excellence cluster, a set of efforts promoting strategic decision-making and evidence-based policies. David will also provide his expertise to government agencies developing learning agendas that tie into the agency’s strategic goals and program evaluation strategies.

“The people I have met at OSBM and throughout the state government care deeply about North Carolina and the people they serve. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve as a resource and catalyst for those who are looking for new ways to evaluate their agency’s work and align their efforts with the agency’s strategic goals,” said David.

North Carolina is the first state to have a dedicated role within the Budget Office focused on using scientific methods to support program and policy decisions. OSBM’s effort to identify and evaluate assumptions and evidence as part of established government processes is a top practice that ensures that evaluation is not an afterthought, but is firmly embedded in strategic planning and budget development.

North Carolina has established itself among the states as a leader in performance management and evidence-based policy making. The state has received recognition for its leadership in this area from national organizations such as the Pew Charitable Trust, Results for America, and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

About chief scientist David Yokum

David joins OSBM from Brown University’s Policy Lab, where he has served as Director since 2019. Since 2020 he has served in an advisory capacity for the North Carolina Office of Strategic Partnerships. He has a Ph.D. and a JD from the University of Arizona and an MA from the University of South Florida.

About OSBM

The Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) is committed to serving North Carolina residents by providing objective information and analysis to ensure balanced budgets and effective management of public resources.