Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon February 12, 2013 at 5:06 PM EST
We are thrilled that among the esteemed guests who will be sitting with the First Lady during tonight’s State of the Union address, three are outstanding leaders in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). Through their accomplishments, these individuals personify a theme of longstanding importance to President Obama: the centrality of science, technology, and innovation to America’s ongoing global leadership.
Jack Andraka, a high school sophomore, won the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his creation of a new method to detect early-stage pancreatic cancer. Jack’s invention—a simple dip-stick that can test blood or urine for signs of the illness—is faster, cheaper, and 100 times more sensitive than today’s standard tests for pancreatic cancer. Jack is living proof that an innovator need not have a PhD or even a high-school diploma to change the world. He represents the promise of a new generation of scientists and researchers whose discoveries will help make the Nation stronger, healthier, and more resilient.
Peter Hudson, a physician by training, is co-founder and CEO of iTriage—a startup company he launched with emergency-room colleague Wayne Guerra in 2009 to help connect people to the right healthcare when they need it. Through the iTriage app, smartphone users can locate nearby care providers based on their symptoms, make appointments, learn about thousands of medications, diseases, and procedures, and more. Peter’s path from idea, to innovation, to impact is a true STEM success story—and it exemplifies an approach to innovation and economic growth that this Administration has been cultivating from the beginning: make government data resources freely available to the public in machine-readable form, so that developers and entrepreneurs can turn those resources into useful tools, new businesses, and jobs. iTriage, as an example, is fueled by open government data resources such as information on the location and characteristics of doctors, hospitals, and health clinics across the country. iTriage was recently acquired by Aetna, now employs over 90 people, and continues to grow and help people across the Nation.
- Posted byon February 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM EST
This article is cross-posted on the Treasury Notes blog
Today, the Obama Administration launched the Smart Disclosure Data Community at Consumer.Data.gov, an important step to empower Americans with the data and tools they need to make more informed choices in the marketplace.
“Smart disclosure” is the act of making potentially useful data more readily available—both to consumers directly and to innovators who can use it to build tools that help consumers make smart decisions. Federal agencies have already taken steps to promote smart disclosure by unleashing their data to support creation of a range of new apps, websites, and services—including product comparison websites, mobile shopping apps, and personalized dashboards that help consumers monitor their finances and energy usage.
The Community announced today is a first-of-its-kind centralized platform containing over 400 smart disclosure data sets and resources from dozens of agencies across government. Using the Community, entrepreneurs and innovators can access free Federal data to create the consumer applications, products, and services of the future—all in one convenient location. This new Community is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to foster an Open Government and unlock the potential of Open Data for the benefit of American citizens.
- Posted byon February 4, 2013 at 7:03 PM EST
Freely available data from the US Government is an important national resource, serving as fuel for entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific discovery, and other public benefits. In the 1970s, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made weather data widely available. In the 1980s, the Federal Government opened up access to data from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, which were previously for military use only. These two decisions created a big positive effect in the lives of everyday Americans—just ask anyone who has recently viewed a weather report or obtained driving directions on a mobile phone. What’s more, these decisions generated an infrastructure of public data that anyone in the world could tap into, for free, and use to generate new ideas and build new businesses.
Our goal, as Presidential Innovation Fellows working with open data, has been to find, unlock, and promote the next wave of government data—the next GPS—that innovators can use to kickstart entrepreneurship, fuel new tools and apps, and create jobs.
When we joined the government last August, we were assigned to six different agencies, but we came up with three common goals. First, we sought to release government data in open formats that are easy to understand and easy for innovators to use. Second, we encouraged Federal agencies to treat open data as a core deliverable and as a default, not just as a nice thing to do after data have already been collected and analyzed. Third, we worked to highlight and stimulate new uses of these liberated data by private-sector companies, entrepreneurs, and non-profits.
- Posted byon February 4, 2013 at 6:54 PM EST
Tech-ies mingled during a networking session after the White House Tech Inclusion Summit on January 31, 2013. (Photo credit: John Werner)
The event followed this past summer’s White House Tech Inclusion Roundtable, where more than 50 tech executives, investors, entrepreneurs, educators, and students convened to brainstorm ways to broaden the Nation’s tech talent pool and help achieve the President’s goal of increasing the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by one million within the next ten years.
Over the past several months, through the work of many committed community groups, businesses, and other organizations, ideas born at the August Roundtable have materialized into five new private-sector initiatives that promise to deliver tangible results. The following new efforts to engage youth in tech were announced at last week’s Summit:
- Posted byon January 29, 2013 at 10:56 AM EST
OSTP Director John P. Holdren speaks at the January 18, 2013, Interagency Mentoring and STEM Open House. (Photo credit: USDOT)
In science and engineering fields, this means celebrating those who keep our next generation of innovators engaged and excited about science, technology, engineering, and math while helping them acquire the skills needed for the jobs of the future. Studies have shown that—particularly for members of groups underrepresented in science and engineering fields, including women and some minorities—having a mentor can be a key determinant of whether a student continues to take math and science courses.
But there are many skilled potential mentors out there who have yet to venture into a school to express their potential.
- Posted byon January 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM EST
When the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced its call for 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows last summer, US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park also asked folks across the country to support these Fellows with great ideas and valuable feedback.
Over the past few months, through video chats, conference calls, and in-person meetings, thousands of Americans have connected with us to learn and share ideas about our work—and this Administration’s commitment—to unleash data from the vaults of the government as fuel for innovation. Time and again, we were asked why more people weren’t aware of these “Open Data” efforts, their numerous benefits for Americans, and how to get engaged.
After hearing this feedback, we had an idea: create an online showcase, highlighting the very best Open Data resources and how they are already being used by private-sector entrepreneurs and innovators to create new products and services that benefit people in all kinds of ways—from empowering patients to find the best healthcare right when they need it; to helping consumers detect credit card fraud; to keeping kids safe by notifying parents when products in their home are recalled.
Screenshot from the new alpha.data.gov experimental website, created by the 2012 Presidential Innovation Fellows.
White House Blogs
- The White House Blog
- Middle Class Task Force
- Council of Economic Advisers
- Council on Environmental Quality
- Council on Women and Girls
- Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Management and Budget
- Office of Public Engagement
- Office of Science & Tech Policy
- Office of Urban Affairs
- Open Government
- Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Social Innovation and Civic Participation
- US Trade Representative
- Office National Drug Control Policy