On Thursday October 27, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, and the Kapor Center, virtually convened leaders across multiple sectors, who are working to advance equity and broaden participation in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
These engagements built on the year-long activities of the Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science and Technology initiative, including a five-part roundtable series of candid and robust conversations with researchers, thought leaders, and advocates on themes related to STEM equity; a national ideation challenge; field visits to successful organizations and programs; and ongoing discussions with learners, teachers, scientists and technologists, community scientists, experts in elementary and higher education, and policymakers.
During last Thursday’s Forums, OSTP officials shared preliminary takeaways from the Time is Now, highlighting key barriers and opportunities for achieving equity in STEMM that were surfaced during conversations with the American public.
Participants in the forums, including representatives of organizations in the education, community science, and private sectors, agreed that overcoming these challenges will require the focused, concerted effort of government, academia, civil society, and industry, working in partnership with communities, and offered promising strategies for how cross-sector collaborations can create pathways to success.
OSTP officials noted that the Biden-Harris Administration’s new, transformative commitments to the American science and technology ecosystem, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Honoring Our PACT Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, provide a historic opportunity to also transform a STEMM ecosystem that shuts out and diverts away too many talented individuals, limiting opportunities for discovery and innovation, and our national potential for the greatest impact. As these investments begin to take shape across the country, the United States must ensure that science and technology includes and benefits all of America.
An extensive body of research demonstrates that skilled, motivated individuals are excluded from the scientific enterprise by systemic inequities in education and training, career trajectories, and funding disparities, in addition to discrimination and harassment. Participants shared approaches across sectors that have proven successful in combatting these systemic and cultural barriers, and spoke about the potential benefits of scaling such interventions to benefit the whole science and technology ecosystem. Participants discussed how coordination and communication across organizations in a national, concerted effort could bolster the US STEMM ecosystem and ensure it is preeminent, equitable, and inclusive.