Public input sought on federal bioeconomy strategy, needs

With the Dec. 20 release of two Requests for Information (RFIs), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy seeks public input to help guide the development and deployment of the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, which is intended to use the two disciplines to advance innovative solutions in health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, and supply chain resilience.

New national alliance commits to expanding access to STEMM education

Seeking fundamental changes in access to and equity in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) education, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and participants from across sectors met and sought ways to ensure the STEMM ecosystem is equitable and inclusive. OSTP, along with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), have launched the STEMM Opportunity Alliance (SOA), a national initiative to lead and coordinate this and future cross-sector action to achieve equity across STEMM fields. To date, more than $4 million has been committed to launch SOA with more than 90 partners signing onto the effort.

White House announces major expansion to open access policies

A recent announcement from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) included major updates requiring open access to federally funded research. The new guidance will require federal agencies to ensure that all taxpayer-funded research is immediately available to the public, disallowing the previous optional 12-month embargos.

OSTP nomination would make history as first woman confirmed to lead the office

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Arati Prabhakar to serve as the next director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and once confirmed she would also become his chief science advisor. The nomination earned praise from members of Congress, scientists, R&D advocates, and former OSTP directors of both Democratic and Republic administrations. The nomination is historic with Prabhakar being the first woman, immigrant, or person of color nominated to serve as Senate-confirmed director of OSTP. She previously led the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 1993 to 1997, starting when she was 34 years old and being the first woman to hold that position. She also served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2012 to 2017. Prabhakar has worked with startups, large companies, universities, government labs, and nonprofits across a wide variety of sectors and is both an engineer and applied physicist.

Feds seek input on manufacturing policy, scientific data

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has released a new request for information (RFI) related to a national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are seeking information on how the scientific community uses public data tools. Both RFIs provide an opportunity for the tech-based economic development field to shape the future of federal innovation policy. 

Biden announces science and tech advisors

The Biden administration announced the 30 members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) this week. The panel, which is co-chaired by the president’s science advisor and external experts, exists to make science, technology and innovation recommendations to the White House. The administration calls this the most diverse PCAST in its history, which dates back to 1957, including the first women co-chairs. Included among the advisors are two former secretaries under President Barack Obama: Penny Pritzker (Commerce) and Ashton Carter (Defense). The full list of PCAST advisors is available in the White House’s announcement.

Senate confirms Lander as director of OSTP, position elevated to Cabinet level

Eric Lander was confirmed by the Senate as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He will serve as the president’s science adviser and, for the first time, the position will also hold a seat in the Cabinet. Lander, 64, was president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and was a co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under former President Barack Obama. In the opening remarks of his nomination hearing, Lander vowed to “make full inclusion and equitable outcomes a high priority” and said he would world to “work to put in place a plan to increase the numbers of women and underrepresented people in the science and technology professions by 50 percent.”

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