Science and technology must include and benefit all of America, OSTP calls on the American public to help make this a reality

Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is launching The Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science and Technology Ideation Challenge.

OSTP Director Eric Lander is asking the American public to share their insights on a central question, “How can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?” The #OSTPTimeIsNow #SciEquityChallenge gives all people, from students and skilled technical workers, scientists, and industry innovators, to equity advocates, creatives, education leaders, and the people who value and use science and technology in their everyday lives, the opportunity to help answer this question by directly submitting their own thoughts, ideas, or examples of existing or promising actions that expand equity and inclusion.

“America’s future depends on science and technology like never before, and to address the extraordinary opportunities and challenges we face — to our health, our planet, our economic prosperity, and our national security — the United States will need to draw on all of its assets, chief among them our unrivaled diversity,” said Dr. Eric Lander, the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We need everybody to be able to participate in and contribute to science and technology because different experiences and perspectives are the bedrock of new scientific and technological insights, because having everybody on the team is essential to America’s global competitiveness in the 21st century, and, because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Together we can create equitable science and technology that reflects all of us, from the community to the classroom, from the boardroom to the operating room and the laboratory bench,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Deputy Director for Science and Society. “Doing so is an essential part of serving and empowering communities that have for too long have been excluded from the bounty and benefits of scientific breakthroughs and opportunities. Equitable innovation can open the door to a better future for all people.”

“Challenge.Gov and OSTP have worked in partnership for over a decade to establish and mature the use of crowdsourcing and prize competitions across government,” said Dave Zvenyach,  Technology Transformation Services Director. “Putting equity at the forefront of the conversation with the Time is Now STEM Equity Challenge represents a new era for Challenge.Gov and we are excited the platform will serve as the central hub for public engagement and participation in problem solving and open innovation.”
More on the Challenge:

  • The Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science and Technology Ideation Challenge will be open on between October 14 and November 19, 2021.
  • This critical input from the public will be part of a larger effort to gather ideas that can galvanize action and spur new efforts that benefit the entire Nation – and anyone can submit ideas for consideration.
  • The ideation challenge does not include a monetary prize. It is instead intended to gather input from the American public about how to advance equity in science and technology.

With this ideation challenge, OSTP is opening a new line of communication with the American people through a process that started in the Obama-Biden Administration. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act in 2010, gave Federal agencies broad legal authority to conduct prizes, crowdsourcing, and citizen science competitions to engage the public. OSTP, the Office of Management and Budget, and the General Services Administration (GSA) have developed the framework that would allow the government to capitalize on these capabilities.

OSTP is again on the cutting edge of innovation and public engagement as it becomes one of the first to host an ideation challenge on the newly launched Challenge.Gov site.

More on OSTP’s “Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science and Technology” initiative: This ideation challenge is the second phase of OSTP’s “Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science and Technology” initiative. It builds on a five-part roundtable series of candid and robust conversation with researchers, thought leaders, and advocates on themes related to science and technology equity, to gather valuable feedback that can assist OSTP in assuring that our national science and technology ecosystem is preeminent, equitable, and inclusive. More information about each roundtable can be found here: Honoring Disability Pride Month; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism; Emerging Models and Pathways for Success in a) Institutional and Academic Contexts, and b) Community-centered Research, Participation, and Engagement; and The COVID-19 Pandemic and Overlapping Crises For Women and People with Gender-Expansive Identities in STEM.


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