In 1976, recognizing the need to coordinate the Federal science and technology policy, and provide the President with the best possible guidance on advances in science and technology, Congress established the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Today, OSTP works to maximize the benefits of science and technology to advance health, prosperity, security, environmental quality, and justice for all Americans.
OSTP is composed of a Director’s Office and six core policy teams: Climate and Environment, Energy, Health and Life Sciences, National Security, Science and Society, and the U.S. Chief Technology Officer. We are guided by a core set of values.
OSTP advises the President jointly with the Office of Management and Budget on Federal research development in budgets, works closely with the National Security Council on the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, and leads the White House Cancer Moonshot.
OSTP’s Senate-confirmed Director may also serve as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. The Director co-chairs the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and supports the Cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which is chaired by the President.
Climate and Environment
The Climate and Environment Team works to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate, environmental justice, and nature priorities so that all communities have access to and opportunities to help create a healthy, prosperous, resilient, and sustainable future. The Climate and Environment Team strives to:
- Provide clear, useful, and useable science and knowledge to inform the Administration’s climate, environment, and nature policies, actions and initiatives by engaging across the Federal community as the clear voice of science, coordinating relevant science and policy processes, collaborating with partners, and connecting with stakeholders outside of government on issues related to climate and environment;
- Ensure the Federal Government is a source of credible, useful, science-based information on climate, nature, and the environment;
- Advance equity and inclusion, including through respectful and thoughtful engagement and the development of knowledge and science-based policies and processes that enhance equity, environmental justice, and opportunities for all.
The team is led by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, OSTP’s Deputy Director for Climate and Environment.
The Energy Team provides science and policy expertise on energy and net-zero emissions technologies, and leads coordination on net-zero emissions innovation for the Biden-Harris Administration. OSTP Energy has deep technical and policy expertise, and helps develop innovation priorities for mid-to-long term technologies to ensure the success and rapid adoption needed for a clean, secure, and equitable clean energy transition. The Energy Team advances the clean energy priorities of the Administration by:
- Co-leading a whole-of-government effort on national net-zero innovation priorities in nascent clean energy technologies to reduce costs, improve performance, accelerate technology adoption, increase production capabilities, as well as accelerate game-changing technologies that have not yet been fully developed.
- Collaborating with Federal agencies to develop a bold decadal vision for commercial fusion energy. OSTP co-hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Fusion Energy in 2022.
- Developing a national electrification innovation strategy to enable widespread electrification of light-duty vehicles and residential/commercial heating.
- Co-leading a whole-of-government effort on innovation in energy data and analytics, ensuring most up-to-date data are used to support evidence-based analysis for actions and decisions supporting a clean, rapid, and equitable energy transition.
- Leading the Biden-Harris Administration’s assessment of the climate, environmental, and energy policy implications of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
The team is led by Dr. Sally Benson, OSTP’s Deputy Director for Energy and Chief Strategist for the Energy Transition.
Health and Life Sciences
The Health and Life Sciences Team is advancing a portfolio that demonstrates the critical importance of science and technology in improving human health, and the role of life sciences in addressing the highest priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration. Building on lessons learned from the historic COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented opportunities in the life sciences, the Health and Life Sciences Team’s priority efforts include: bio-preparedness, including pandemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, and biosecurity, health systems and health equity, accelerating biomedical innovation to patients, and innovation across the life sciences enterprise, including agriculture, biotechnology, and biomanufacturing. The team’s approach includes seeking systemic science and technology policy opportunities that crosscut health and life sciences goals.
The team is led by Dr. Carrie Wolinetz, OSTP’s Deputy Director for Health and Life Sciences.
The National Security Team advances the President’s agenda by strengthening our long-term global competitiveness and reducing catastrophic risks through the assessment, development, deployment, and governance of current and emerging technologies. To strengthen global competitiveness, the team works to develop long-term science and technology (S&T) strategies, improve S&T intelligence, shape new investments in foundational technologies, modernize national security systems, ensure supply chain security, cultivate an agile innovation base, enhance export and investment controls, and build the world’s best STEM workforce. They also work to reduce catastrophic risks at the intersection of technology and global security, spanning nuclear, biological, cyber, and autonomous technologies, associated risks of war, pandemics, and large-scale disasters, as well as emergent risks in space, ocean, and polar domains.
The National Security Team includes the National Quantum Coordination Office (NQCO) which works to accelerate quantum information science and technology research and development in the United States.
The team is led by Dr. Morgan Dwyer, OSTP’s Principal Assistant Director for National Security.
Office of the General Counsel
The Office of General Counsel (OGC) advises the OSTP Director, OSTP management, and staff on issues of law and policy and helps ensure OSTP compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. The focus of the OGC Team is to support the Administration’s S&T priorities and its policy advisors by working on the broad array of legal questions that arise in S&T, as well as on a wide range of substantive general matters, including employment, appropriations, government contracts, ethics, information disclosure, litigation, and pending legislation. OGC works with the White House Counsel’s Office, other Executive Office of the President components, the Department of Justice, and other departments and agencies.
The team is led by Ruchi Jain, OSTP’s General Counsel.
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is the sole body of advisors from outside the federal government charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House. Established by Executive Order, it is an independent Federal Advisory Committee comprised of distinguished individuals from industry, academia, and non-profit organizations with a range of perspectives and expertise. PCAST develops evidence-based recommendations for the President on matters involving science, technology, and innovation policy, as well as on matters involving scientific and technological information that is needed to inform policy affecting the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, the environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.
Science and Society
The Science and Society Team advances the President’s commitment to ensuring all of America can participate in, contribute to, and benefit from science and technology. An inaugural White House team, Science and Society’s role is to develop evidence-based policy at the intersection of science, technology, and innovation, reflecting the perspectives of the individuals and communities who make up civil society. The Science and Society Team directs priority efforts to protect the integrity of science in the federal government, broaden participation in STEM fields, strengthen the U.S. research infrastructure and its security, and ensure that all Americans have equitable access to the benefits of new and emerging technologies and scientific innovation.
The Science and Society Team brings a broad and multidisciplinary set of expertise to develop policy that addresses Biden-Harris Administration priorities to:
- Promote the best-available science and data to drive decision making in the Federal government, with particular emphasis on the role of social and behavioral science evidence and the advancement of equity through the Year of Evidence for Action;
- Advance equity across the science and technology ecosystem, especially for marginalized, under-served, and under-resourced populations in science and technology fields, by removing structural barriers that prevent equitable participation through The Time is Now initiative, and a national science and technology equity strategy;
- Ensure automated technologies, including AI, advance democratic values, by coordinating a civil rights-based framework for the development, deployment, and use of emerging technologies through an “AI Bill of Rights”;
- Protect the integrity and independence of the Federal science ecosystem by promoting open science, safeguarding against interference, and making the insights of scientific research more accessible to all people
- Increase public access to and engagement with Federally funded research results, resources, and data repositories; including through community-driven research agendas; prizes, challenges, “citizen” science, crowdsourcing, and other methods of open innovation.
The team is led by Dr. Jedidah Isler, OSTP’s Principal Assistant Director for Science and Society.
U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
The U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Team works to maximize the benefits of technology and data for all Americans. This includes ensuring that the U.S. government can leverage tech and data to effectively deliver services, that U.S. policy is informed by tech and data expertise, and that America continues to lead the world in values-driven technological research and innovation. For example, the CTO Team works to harness the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) for the American people while identifying and mitigating its pitfalls. It also works to ensure the U.S. government has the capacity to use data and technology to equitably and efficiently deliver services to achieve key policy priorities. Crucially, the CTO Team coordinates across the U.S. government to establish clear policies governing public and private sector use of technologies, and to ensure all administration policy is tech-informed.
The Office of the U.S. Chief Technology Officer is often called the Tech Team. The team will be led by the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the United States, after a U.S. CTO has been nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The team includes the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office (NAIIO), which advances and coordinates federal work and policy on AI, including expanding access to AI resources to more researchers. The Tech Team also includes the U.S. Chief Data Scientist, whose team works to ensure that data science helps equitably tackle our nation’s biggest challenges.
Alexander “amac” Macgillivray serves as Principal Deputy U.S. CTO, Dr. Lynne Parker serves as Deputy U.S. CTO and Director of the NAIIO, and Denice Ross serves as Deputy U.S. CTO and U.S. Chief Data Scientist.