Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon February 27, 2014 at 6:43 PM EDT
This Friday, to wrap up an exciting week of action by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in celebration of Black History Month, to shine a light on the importance of engaging America’s full science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talent pool, OSTP Director John P. Holdren will visit Morgan State University, a Baltimore-based Historically Black College or University (HBCU). In addition to touring on-campus research and laboratory facilities, Dr. Holdren will meet with university leadership, faculty, and students to discuss the challenge and opportunity of broadening participation in STEM fields – a priority area of focus for OSTP.
Here’s a recap of OSTP’s “Week of Action” activities to celebrate Black History Month and promote STEM inclusion:
To start off the week, on Tuesday, OSTP’s Knatokie Ford and Marlon Marshall of the White House Office of Public Engagement co-hosted a “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout featuring all-star African American STEM students, researchers, and scientists to share their stories, lessons learned, and help inspire African American students across America to pursue STEM studies and careers.
On Wednesday, OSTP Director Holdren delivered closing remarks at a White House Champions of Change event convened by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, celebrating extraordinary leaders who are working to support and accelerate STEM opportunities for African American students, schools, and communities. Later in the day, Director Holdren kicked off a day-long workshop, convening leading technical experts, representatives from minority professional societies, nonprofit organizations, and other key stakeholders to develop concrete actions that help minorities excel in STEM studies and careers.
- Posted byon February 24, 2014 at 5:45 PM EDT
On April 2, 2013, President Obama launched the Brain Research through Advancing Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a Grand Challenge designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain.
Under this initiative, Federal agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are supporting the development and application of innovative, new technologies that can create a dynamic understanding of brain function and its relationship to behavior. These scientific and technological advances could also lead to improvements in our ability to diagnose, treat, and even prevent diseases of the brain. Recently, DARPA, NIH, and NSF have made announcements of significant new solicitations or awards related to the BRAIN Initiative. Other Federal activities are being coordinated with the BRAIN Initiative through the National Science and Technology Council’s Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience.
- Posted byon February 24, 2014 at 5:06 PM EDT
The Obama Administration is committed to partnering with the City of Detroit—its citizens, local leaders, and community stakeholders—to support the city’s vision for economic revitalization. As part of this effort, in November, the White House assembled in Detroit a team of top municipal-government technology officials from around the country. The goal of the trip, and the ongoing engagement between this Tech Team of municipal officials and the city, has been to identify ways technology can be leveraged in support of economic revitalization and improved services for city residents.
Today marks another important milestone for Detroit city government’s technological revitalization: it is the first day on the job for the City of Detroit’s new Chief Information Officer, Beth Niblock. She is serving in a newly-created cabinet-level position in the city. Beth, an accomplished and innovative leader, was a member of the municipal Tech Team. She brings to Detroit a wealth of valuable experience through the incredible work she did over the past decade in the same position for the City of Louisville, Kentucky.
Congratulations to Beth and the City of Detroit. The creation of this new position—with Beth on the job— further solidifies the critical role of technology and innovation in the city’s policies and economic revitalization efforts. We look forward to continued progress as the City of Detroit, under Beth’s leadership, embarks on building a more robust, vibrant, 21st century city. Going forward, OSTP and the Tech Team will continue to partner with City of Detroit to support this important work.
Brian Forde is Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer
Don Graves is Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House
- Posted byon February 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM EDT
Last month, the President asked Counselor John Podesta to lead a comprehensive review of how “big data” – data sets so massive, diverse, or complex, that conventional technologies cannot adequately capture, store, or analyze them – will affect how Americans live and work. Senior administration officials have since begun to look at the implications of collecting, analyzing, and using such data for privacy, the economy, and public policy.
Because we all have an important stake in the future of privacy, hearing from a broad range of experts and engaging the public is critical to this effort. To advance this inquiry, OSTP will be co-hosting a series of public events to hear from technologists, business leaders, civil society, and the academic community. The first event is a public workshop organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), entitled “Big Data Privacy: Advancing the State of the Art in Technology and Practice.” The workshop will be held on March 3, 2014. For information on how to register, or how to watch the event by webcast, please go to MIT’s website here.
As part of this effort, OSTP will be co-hosting at least two additional events—one with the Data & Society Research Institute and New York University, and one with the School of Information and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing additional opportunities for the public to inform this important work. Check back here for more information and updates on our progress.
Nicole Wong is U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
- Posted byon February 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM EDT
We at the White House couldn’t be more excited to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting some of our nation’s most prominent and promising African American science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) achievers and shining a light on the importance of ensuring the Nation’s next generation of inventors, discoverers, and innovators fully reflects the diversity of America.
Members of racial and ethnic minority groups are projected to become the majority of America’s population in the next 30 years. Today, however, they account for just 28 percent of America’s STEM workers. We know that for America to remain competitive in a global economy, we need to do all we can to draw upon the nation’s diverse talent pool, which includes historically underrepresented groups in STEM, such as women and minorities.
That’s why, next week, OSTP is hosting and participating in a series of activities to highlight diverse STEM role models and the urgent need to help minority students across the country envision themselves as tomorrow’s discoverers, explorers, developers, and STEM innovators.
To kick off our week of activities, join us Tuesday, February 25 at 3:00 pm EST for "We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month"
In this Google+ Hangout, some of the Nation’s most extraordinary African American STEM innovators and STEM-education advocates will share their inspiring personal stories and thoughts on how we can all step up to help strengthen America’s STEM-skilled workforce by making it broader and more diverse.
- Posted byon February 14, 2014 at 12:34 PM EDTBuilding on an array of Administration initiatives to bolster America’s wireless leadership, today, the Office of Science and Technology Policy released a Request for Information seeking public input on ways to provide greater incentives to Federal agencies to relinquish spectrum for wireless broadband or other innovative commercial uses. OSTP issued the request on behalf of the White House Spectrum Policy Team—a White House-based team charged with supporting the implementation of the Administration’s ambitious agenda for expanding the availability of spectrum for innovative and flexible commercial uses to drive innovation, expand consumer services, and create jobs.The Request for Information follows last year’s Presidential Memorandum, Expanding America's Leadership in Wireless Innovation, which aims to promote more efficient use of spectrum by Federal agencies. Among other things, the memorandum directs the Spectrum Policy Team to make recommendations to the President on approaches that could give agencies greater incentive to share or relinquish spectrum, while protecting the mission capabilities of existing and future systems that rely on spectrum use. Via this Request for Information, the Spectrum Policy Team invites stakeholder input to inform the forthcoming recommendations.As part of the Request for Information, the public is invited to comment on a report released today by the Science and Technology Policy Institute which surveys an array of proposed approaches to creating greater agency incentives, including recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology and a bipartisan legislative proposal now pending in the House of Representatives.As detailed in a report last year from the National Economic Council, Four Years of Broadband Growth, we know that private investment and smart policy have enabled the United States to become a world leader in the development and deployment of wireless technologies. The American public continues to reap the benefits of new and innovative uses of spectrum by both the private sector and Federal users. At the same time, increasing demand for spectrum requires new approaches to spectrum policy, including ensuring Federal agencies are able—and incentivized—to share or relinquish spectrum in a cost-effective and timely manner, while protecting the mission capabilities of existing and future systems that rely on spectrum use.And we continue to move the Administration’s ambitious spectrum agenda forward. Federal agencies have made important progress to deliver on the President’s 2010 directive to find 500 MHz of spectrum held by Federal and nonfederal users that could be repurposed for wireless broadband Internet service within 10 years—nearly doubling the amount currently available. Agency efforts to date have allowed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration—the agency charged with managing Federal spectrum—to identify more than 400 megahertz of spectrum for potential reallocation. We look forward to continuing to deliver on the President’s ambitious spectrum strategy.We invite stakeholders to offer concrete proposals that can inform the recommendations to be made to the President by the Spectrum Policy Team. The full Request for Information can be found here and the new report from the Science and Technology Policy Institute can be found here. Comments are due by March 20, 2014, and can be sent to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!Tom Power is U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Telecommunications
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