Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon September 6, 2013 at 10:41 AM EST
Last year, President Obama proclaimed November as National Entrepreneurship Month—a time to celebrate the hard work, ingenuity, and courage of America’s thinkers, doers, and makers.
Inspired by that Proclamation, a number of groups at the University of Michigan—including the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurship Commission, and more than a dozen student-entrepreneurship organizations on campus—partnered to hold the first-ever university-wide Month of Entrepreneurship. This past spring, that effort resulted in more than 30 unique events relating to entrepreneurship and innovation.
Below, University of Michigan Student Body President, Manish Parikh, shares his experiences helping to coordinate the Month of Entrepreneurship and promote entrepreneurship on campus.
- Posted byon September 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM EST
This summer I joined with Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and more than 40 scientists, advocates, and business leaders at Philadelphia’s University City Science Center to discuss recent advances in neuroscience research. The meeting gave OSTP and the Congressman an opportunity to brief some of the Nation’s top brain researchers and thought leaders on Federal investments and initiatives in neuroscience and related areas, and the importance of public-private partnerships in advancing neuroscience exploration.
The Obama Administration is committed to harnessing science to understand the underpinnings of brain diseases, improve the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic injuries to the brain, and apply the latest discoveries about the neuroscience of teaching, learning, and development in educational settings across the country. In April, for example, the President announced the launch of the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which is focusing in part on developing better technologies and tools to accelerate progress in this important domain.
The Administration has had a longstanding interest in neuroscience. At the Philadelphia meeting, I provided an overview of a series of related initiatives and activities in areas such as neurodegenerative disease, mental health, behavioral science, and neuroethics. Such efforts would be difficult indeed without the strong support of leaders like Rep. Fattah, who worked closely with OSTP in 2011 to establish the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience, which coordinates research among more than a dozen agencies under the National Science and Technology Council. For a more detailed description of the recent Philadelphia meeting, click here.
Philip Rubin is Principal Assistant Director for Science at OSTP
- Posted byon September 3, 2013 at 1:30 PM EST
Last week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly challenged a group of over 80 top innovators from around the country to come up with ways to improve disaster response and recovery efforts. This diverse group of stakeholders, consisting of representatives from Zappos, Airbnb, Marriott International, the Parsons School of Design, AOL/Huffington Post’s Social Impact, The Weather Channel, Twitter, Topix.com, Twilio, New York City, Google and the Red Cross, to name a few, spent an entire day at the White House collaborating on ideas for tools, products, services, programs, and apps that can assist disaster survivors and communities.
This collaboration is a great example of this Administration’s commitment to convening private-sector talent and innovators to work with public servants in order to deliver better results for the American people. The event mobilized innovators from the private sector, nonprofits, artistic organizations, and Federal as well as local government agencies to develop solutions that support and integrate both public and private efforts for disaster relief. It also comes as our Nation prepares for what is usually the peak of Hurricane Season. In fact, the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene fell last week, and the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy is approaching.
During the “Data Jam/Think Tank,” we discussed response and recovery challenges with the participants and other Federal leaders, including Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy and Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. The participants then broke into subgroups to brainstorm innovative ideas for addressing those challenges, vote on the best ideas, and commit to implementing them.
- Posted byon August 29, 2013 at 2:58 PM EST
Teams of entrepreneurs often come together in programs known as “startup accelerators” to learn from mentors, hone their products, and ultimately make pitches to investors—whose early support can make all the difference between a company’s successful launch and a good idea gone unfunded. Last month, at a DC-based startup campus called 1776, 16 startup accelerators gathered—but with an unusual twist. Instead of pitching to profit-motivated investors, the accelerators pitched to a group of foundations to make the case for why these philanthropic organizations should expand their support for services aimed at helping new startups.
A joint project of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), this Accelerator Demo Day was just the latest example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to an all-hands-on-deck approach to supporting startups as a key element of growing the American economy. The event provided a great opportunity for a range of startup accelerators focused on education, healthcare, retail, and other industries to forge relationships with an expanded set of potential partners. And it highlighted the great economic potential that startup accelerators in general can help to nurture in cities and states across the country.
- Posted byon August 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM EST
In his remarks last week on college affordability at the New York State University of Buffalo, President Obama emphasized that “higher education is still the best ticket to upward mobility in America.”
Indeed, more and more, well-paying jobs—especially those in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields—require education or training after high school. STEM fields are some of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy and they are important to the health and longevity of our Nation’s people, economy, and environment.
But a recent report shows that today, less than half of high school graduates in the United States are prepared for college-level math courses, and under a third are ready for college-level science. Educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs is critical to the continued leadership of United States. We need to get America’s STEM students college-ready.
From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has called for all hands on deck to improve STEM education in America. Under the President’s Educate to Innovate Campaign the Administration has formed public private partnerships to inspire students in STEM fields and to provide the tools for students to achieve success.
The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) is one such partner working to answer the President’s call by improving student engagement and success in challenging high-school math and science courses. Today, NMSI announced that for the fifth year running, students enrolled in its Advanced Placement (AP) program earned significantly higher scores on AP exams compared to the national average. By providing teachers with specialized training, mentorship, and classroom resources, increased class time, and incentives for teachers, students, and administrators to work to achieve ambitious goals, NMSI’s AP program has on average increased by 144% the number of students achieving qualifying scores on AP math, science, and English exams in schools adopting the program.
- Posted byon August 22, 2013 at 8:27 AM EST
In 2011, the President launched a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the Federal Government to foster the US advanced manufacturing sector by enabling innovation, securing the talent pipeline, and improving the business climate for this important emerging industrial base. Central to innovation in the manufacturing domain is the industrial design sector, which focuses on making the user experience with new products easy and intuitive. So today we congratulate our colleagues at the National Endowment for the Arts for their release of a new and fascinating report, Valuing the Art of Industrial Design: A Profile of the Sector and Its Importance to Manufacturing, Technology, and Innovation—the first comprehensive look by the Federal Government at the American industrial-design enterprise.
Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products such as cars, robots, home and electronic appliances, sporting goods, toys, and more. Working in a range of industries, these creative individuals combine the principles of art, business, and engineering to design and improve upon products and systems so they don’t just work but rather work with the people using them.
We are excited about the release of this report for several reasons. Besides the obvious fact that there would be no products to manufacture without designers to design them, Valuing the Art of Industrial Design provides a map of where the country's more than 40,000 industrial designers are doing their work, gives essential information about earnings and patents, and in its analysis confirms that industrial designers are not just adding decorative flair to others’ inventions but are themselves some of the most active inventors in the country. Between 1975 and 2010, 40 percent of people named on design patents were also named on utility patents. By contrast, only two percent of people named on a utility patent were also named on a design patent. Even better is the news that American industrial design has never been stronger, with more and more patents being earned every year.
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