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Media Advisory: STAC Welcomes the Appointment of Dr. Arati Prabhakar as Science Advisor to the President

June 21, 2022

Senate must confirm Dr. Prabhakar to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy

WASHINGTON—June 21, 2022—The Science & Technology Action Committee (STAC) today released a statement supporting President Biden’s appointment of Dr. Arati Prabhakar as his science adviser and nomination as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Additionally, the President is expected to maintain the OSTP director as a member of his Cabinet — ensuring critical scientific thinking influences decisions at the highest level of government.

Mary Woolley, Cochair of the Science and Technology Action Committee and President and CEO of Research!America, released the following statement on behalf of STAC:

“Dr. Arati Prabhakar’s appointment as the President’s science advisor and nomination to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy is a boon for the advancement of science, technology, and innovation in the U.S. This pivotal Cabinet position requires working across the federal government in these policy areas to drive economic growth, create jobs, and address critical threats to Americans’ public health and wellbeing. Dr. Prabhakar is the ideal scientist and leader for this crucial role, and I urge Congress to approve her nomination as swiftly as possible.”

With increasing competition from countries like China and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass a robust competitiveness bill, Dr. Prabhakar is stepping into the federal government’s top science position at a critical moment. Dr. Prabhakar’s PhD is in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology, she is the first woman to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), she spent a decade in the private sector, and she led the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This extensive experience uniquely positions her to set and implement a path forward for U.S. science and technology.

Dr. Prabhakar’s reputation is that of a technical problem solver and talented manager. This combination will be critical as she works to implement President Biden’s five-point plan for advancing the U.S. science and technology ecosystem. Once appointed, she will be asked to do so within the constraints of a $7 million budget while working to address unprecedented science-related challenges, including curbing the impacts of climate change, improving health and healthcare, securing food and water resources, and strengthening and securing U.S. energy production and storage.

The members of STAC stand ready to work with Dr. Prabhakar and the Biden Administration to ensure the U.S. leads the world in discovery, innovation and deployment of the technologies needed to secure the nation, grow our economy, and improve the quality of life of every American. In addition to elevating the role OSTP director to the Cabinet, STAC has the goals of:

  1. At Least Doubling R&D and STEM investments. Making science and technology investments a priority in 2022 and beyond will help the country to achieve many of its critical, long-term goals, including climate change and pandemic preparedness, developing the next generation of leaders and addressing food and energy security. Crucially, it also ensures the U.S. will be prepared to compete with other nations, such as China, that are aggressively increasing government investment in science and technology. STAC’s projections indicate that federal science and technology spending must reach 1.4% of GDP, roughly double what it is now, for the U.S. to remain a global leader.
  2. Coordinating Science and Technology at the Federal Level. The existential challenges society faces can’t be solved solely by the government, nor by only one of the more than 20 federal departments and agencies that conduct and fund R&D today. While the independence of science and technology is an American strength, greater cooperation across the boundaries of federal agencies and departments; attracting private sector participation; identifying and capitalizing on potentially disruptive technologies, innovations and trends; and conceiving new initiatives are all needed.

The Science & Technology Action Committee (STAC) is a group of 25 non-profit, academic, foundation, and corporate leaders working to dramatically strengthen U.S. science and technology. The Committee is co-chaired by: Bill Novelli, Professor Emeritus and founder of Business for Impact at Georgetown University and former CEO of AARP, Sudip Parikh, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Executive Publisher of the Science Family of Journals, Mary Woolley, President & CEO of Research!America, and Keith Yamamoto, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy at UCSF and President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).