Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon June 29, 2012 at 4:54 PM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden greet and pose for a group photo with winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching on June 29, 2012 in the South Court Auditorium. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
A group of nearly 100 junior high and high school teachers from across the country received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) this week. Today, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, a longtime educator, met with these teachers at the White House to thank them for their commitment to our Nation’s students.
- Posted byon June 26, 2012 at 3:12 PM EDT
Today in Beijing, China, the United States and the other member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) finalized an important new treaty for performers who work in movies, television, and digital media. The new treaty, known as the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (BTAP), will strengthen the economic rights of film actors and other performers. The United States delegation played a leading role in negotiating the treaty, which represents a big step forward in protecting the rights of film and television actors around the world.
- Posted byon June 21, 2012 at 3:41 PM EDT
The international crew of four aquanauts has been working in its home in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aquarius Reef Base undersea research habitat off the coast of Key Largo, 63 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. [Photo courtesy of NASA]
Yesterday I placed a call to the explorers currently undertaking a 12-day mission beneath the waves of the Florida Keys to help us test and prove concepts for outer space missions. The 16th crew of NASA's Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) is focusing their activities on helping us understand what a mission to an asteroid will be like.
- Posted byon June 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM EDT
Today, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a historic agreement to coordinate standards for transporting both government and non-government astronauts to space. The two agencies will provide a stable framework for the U.S. space industry, avoid conflicting requirements and multiple sets of standards, and advance both public and crew safety. Today marks an important step towards the success of the new public-private partnership model that is the future of America’s space industry.
"This agreement is the next step in bringing the business of launching Americans back to American soil," Charles Bolden, NASA administrator said. "We are fostering private sector innovation while maintaining high standards of safety and reliability to re-establish U.S.-crewed access to low-Earth orbit, in-sourcing work to American companies and encouraging the development of dynamic and cost-effective spaceflight capabilities built to last."
- Posted byon June 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM EDT
Prizes have a long history of driving important breakthroughs: Napoleon's 1800 Food Preservation Prize resulted in the invention of canning; the 1927 Orteig Prize helped inspire Charles Lindbergh to make the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris. More recently, the 2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge spurred an Illinois company to create a cleanup method for oil slicks that is four times more effective than any previous one.
It is with that powerful history in mind that today, in Washington, hundreds of leaders from the White House and Federal agencies joined their peers from some of the Nation's most recognizable companies and organizations to develop strategies to use prizes and competitions as a key method to spark innovation and deepen citizen engagement.
You may ask: Are prizes still relevant? Absolutely. New social media tools have enabled smarter and more cost-effective approaches, and the public sector has begun to take advantage of prizes as a way of tackling some of the most perplexing challenges that affect us all – with promising results.
- Posted byon June 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM EDT
Nearly 22 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law and 39 years after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act, employment outcomes for people with disabilities still lag far behind their non-disabled peers. According to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (April 2012), individuals with disabilities have an unemployment rate of 12.5%, compared to 7.6% for those without disabilities. And those numbers don’t even tell the whole story: currently 8 in 10 Americans with disabilities aren’t even part of the labor force.
But the continued expansion of accessible technology can play a critical role in enabling Americans with disabilities to gain access to the labor force and ultimately find jobs that match their interests and skills. Technology can make jobs that were once impossible for an individual with a disability accessible, and it can be used to educate employers about the value people with disabilities can bring to the workplace.
That’s why the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) recently launched the Disability Employment App Challenge.
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