Last Friday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted the second “The Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science & Technology” roundtable.

The session entitled “No Time to Waste: Lessons Learned from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Summit on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism in 21st Century STEMM Organizations,” explored evidence-based, action-oriented approaches to overcome longstanding structural barriers to full and inclusive participation in science and technology classrooms, labs, workplaces, and research centers. These barriers adversely affect the entire science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) ecosystem, stifling creativity, innovation, and growth, and stunting the trajectories of individuals from groups that have been historically underrepresented in these fields.

During this meeting, OSTP Director, Eric Lander, and OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society, Alondra Nelson, engaged with the participants about opportunities for transformative institutional change that advances STEMM equity for underserved communities and, by extension, benefits the entire nation.

Participants discussed why recruitment and retention programs at some minority serving institutions and two-year colleges have consistently outperformed the metrics for student success – especially for students from underrepresented groups—at other institutions. They noted that these successes derived from the implementation of several key strategies: the cultivation of an institutional context in which discrimination was acknowledged, diversity was appreciated as a vital resource, and inclusion and excellence were understood to be inextricably linked aims; innovative institutional leadership that identifies, measures, and rewards varied models of success; active and sustained recruitment and mentoring of students; and the need for institutional data collection, analysis, and accountability, including regular equity assessment of Federally funded programs. The participants also recommended strategies for recognizing, rewarding, and appropriately scaling best practices.

This was the second session of OSTP’s “The Time is Now” series. This five-part series is designed to foster candid and robust conversation with researchers, thought leaders, and advocates on themes related to STEMM equity, and to gather valuable feedback that can assist OSTP in assuring that our national STEMM ecosystem is preeminent, equitable, and inclusive. More information about our first roundtable in honor of Disability Pride Month can be found in this readout.

If you have ideas on advancing STEMM equity, please email us at equity@ostp.eop.gov.

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