Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon April 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM EDT
One of the core goals of the President’s Safety Data Initiative is to empower first responders and the public with information to make the safest and smartest decisions when they need it. In support of this goal, there has been a proliferation of innovative public safety apps—a number of which have been highlighted at the OSTP-supported Safety Datapalooza—using open data from local governments and Federal agencies.
The Red Cross Hurricane and Earthquake apps, for example, put lifesaving information in the hands of people who live in or are visiting hurricane- and earthquake-prone areas, giving instant access to local information on what to do before, during, and after hurricanes or earthquakes. And the PulsePoint app empowers citizens trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to provide life‐saving assistance to heart attack victims by notifying those trained citizens when someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency. The app also directs citizen rescuers to the location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator.
To make this growing number of public safety apps more available and useful, organizations supporting the first responder community have begun to aggregate and promote them. Yesterday, for example, saw the launch of a new public safety application community, “AppComm,”created by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International.
Separately, in support of the President’s call to improve public safety and emergency preparedness, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) had its latest board meeting on Tuesday.
- Posted byon April 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM EDT
This article is cross-posted on the Council on Women and Girls blog.
At the UN General Assembly in September 2011, President Obama issued the following challenge:
“This week, the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. That is what our commitment to human progress demands.”
In response, the United States is working with countries around the world as part of a new international effort – the Equal Futures Partnership – to politically and economically empower women in each of our countries. As part of this effort, the White House launched the Equal Futures App Challenge to spur the creation of apps that inspire girls to become leaders in our democracy. Check out this video message about the challenge from President Obama:
After a rigorous round of review from our panel of distinguished judges – including Jack Dorsey, Creator and Co-Founder of Twitter, and Academy Award-winning actor and advocate, Geena Davis – we’re thrilled to announce our notable app: Girl emPower, created by Laura Phelps and Andrew Cavanagh.
- Posted byon April 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM EDT
In March 2012, the Obama Administration launched a $200 million Big Data Research and Development Initiative. By improving our ability to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data, the initiative promises to help accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen our national security, transform teaching and learning, and improve health outcomes while lowering costs.
Earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health announced that the President’s FY14 budget proposal will provide at least $40 million to launch a new Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program, significantly expanding NIH’s participation in the Administration’s initiative. This program will:
- Facilitate the broad use and sharing of large, complex biomedical data sets through the development of policies, resources and standards;
- Develop and disseminate new analytical methods and software;
- Enhance training of data scientists, computer engineers, and bioinformaticians; and
- Establish Centers of Excellence to develop generalizable approaches that address important problems in biomedical analytics, computational biology, and medical informatics.
- Posted byon April 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM EDT
Every day, across the country, ordinary Americans known as “citizen scientists” make critical contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by collecting, analyzing, and sharing a wide range of data—from weather phenomena, to sightings of migrating birds, to the timing of flower blooms at different latitudes. Now, the White House is preparing to honor some of the Nation’s most effective contributors to these important but sometimes-overlooked public servants.
Public participation in scientific research, also known as citizen science, is not a new phenomenon. In fact, before the establishment of discipline-specific training programs in the 18th and 19th centuries, most scientific research was carried out by amateurs. Many of our country’s most prominent scientists got their first taste of science by participating in citizen-science projects, and even today—despite the ascendance of a professional scientific corps—society has much to gain by including non-experts in the scientific enterprise. Among other benefits, public engagement in science can help citizens critically consider science-related public policy questions, make more informed decisions regarding the pros and cons of new technologies, and provide knowledgeable input about how tax dollars should be spent.
Today, advances such as Internet-based social media platforms and other information technology resources are increasingly allowing individuals to share information over large distances, enabling like-minded citizens to participate in research projects at unprecedented levels. Many practicing scientists today are discovering that citizen scientists play an indispensable role, by helping to collect and analyze data at unparalleled rates and over wide geographical distances.
- Posted byon April 22, 2013 at 6:33 PM EDT
This article is cross-posted on the White House blog.
President Barack Obama talks with Evan Jackson, 10, Alec Jackson, 8, and Caleb Robinson, 8, from McDonough, Ga., while looking at exhibits at the White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room, April 22, 2013. The sports-loving grade-schoolers created a new product concept to keep athletes cool and helps players maintain safe body temperatures on the field. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
As the President said in 2009, when he announced the first-ever White House Science Fair, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you've produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
- Posted byon April 21, 2013 at 5:28 PM EDT
Following today's launch of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, issued the following statement:
"Today's successful test flight of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket from the spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, demonstrates an additional private space-launch capability for the United States and lays the groundwork for the first Antares cargo mission to the International Space Station later this year. The growing potential of America's commercial space industry and NASA's use of public-private partnerships are central to President Obama's strategy to ensure U.S. leadership in space exploration while pushing the bounds of scientific discovery and innovation in the 21st century. With NASA focusing on the challenging and exciting task of sending humans deeper into space than ever before, private companies will be crucial in taking the baton for American cargo and crew launches into low-Earth orbit. I congratulate Orbital Sciences and the NASA teams at Wallops, and look forward to more groundbreaking missions in the months and years ahead."
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