At Summit, White House Unveils New National Initiative to Coordinate Public, Private, and Philanthropic Efforts to Expand Access and Opportunity Across Science and Technology Fields
Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing new actions to transform the American science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) ecosystem by dramatically expanding access and opportunities and bolstering America’s global competitiveness. The new actions meet President Biden’s Day 1 call to advance equity for people who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by poverty and inequality.
The American STEMM ecosystem shuts out and diverts away too many talented individuals, closing off opportunities for discovery and innovation, and limiting our national potential. People of color, rural communities, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people have long navigated the STEMM fields at a structural disadvantage. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to eliminating systemic barriers to participation in STEMM and ensuring that all of the American public can contribute to and benefit from science, technology, and innovation.
At the first-ever White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence, OSTP is putting forward a national vision for transforming the American science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine ecosystem. The Summit will bring together people across STEMM — including from government and businesses, civic, education, nonprofit, community-based, and philanthropic organizations — committed to working collaboratively to build a more equitable and excellent science and technology ecosystem and will feature remarks from Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council Director, John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
“Our Nation depends on a diverse, skilled STEM workforce that is ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century, from growing US leadership in space exploration to tackling the climate crisis,” said Vice President Kamala Harris. “That is why our Administration is committed to empowering and training the next generation of innovators and removing the barriers to these talented individuals achieving their full potential. By bringing together government, civil society, and the private sector, we can prepare our nation’s STEM workforce and create educational and economic opportunity for generations to come.”
“Achieving STEMM excellence and equity means supporting a strong and diverse teacher pipeline. If we want to add more bright, talented people into the science and technology fields — if we want educators to be able to do what they do best — we have to give them the support and respect they deserve,” said First Lady Jill Biden. “The White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence is advancing important efforts to strengthen the pathway for people of color to become STEMM educators and ensure all educators have access to the resources needed to keep doing this incredible job for years and years to come.”
Drawing on more than a year of nationwide engagement with students and teachers, workers in science and technology sectors, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs, education and university leaders, grassroots organizers and community scientists, business leaders, state and federal STEMM policymakers and others, the national vision centers on five action areas for coordinated multisector action. In tandem, each of the five actions will expand opportunities across the STEMM ecosystem for people and communities historically excluded from these sectors, from elementary and higher education and those seeking training and employment, to funding, research, and development.
First, we must ensure every person has the opportunity to participate in and contribute to science and technology throughout their lifetime. Second, we must invest in the vital STEMM teacher pipeline.Third, we must bring greater parity to investment in the communities, institutions, and people that have been historically excluded from access to STEMM resources. Fourth, we have to acknowledge and address the fact that the culture of science has too long tolerated outright, abject bias, and discrimination — and dismantle it. Equity continues to be too widely regarded as a luxury across academic institutions, companies and others teaching and applying science, in part because it has been difficult to measure. So, fifth, we must close the STEMM information gap by generating better and more comprehensive data, developing shared indicators and committing to greater transparency so we can hold science — and society — accountable.
To drive real change across these five action areas, OSTP is unveiling a historic slate of actions both from government and from philanthropy, industry, education, research, and community organizations totaling more than $1.2 billion in work, investments, and opportunities in STEMM. Together these commitments will move our country toward a more equitable STEMM ecosystem, with the power to dramatically expand the bounds of who contributes to, participates in, and benefits from American science, technology, and innovation.
“When we remove obstacles to participation and create better onramps — to education, to work, to research — we also make it possible for everyone to benefit from scientific advances and new solutions to this century’s most pressing issues,” said Dr. Arati Prabhakar, the President’s Chief Advisor for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Today, we are laying out a vision that will help us achieve one of America’s greatest aspirations: giving every individual the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), and over 90 partner institutions from industry, education, research infrastructure, community organizations, and philanthropy, have launched the STEMM Opportunity Alliance (SOA), a first-of-its-kind national initiative to lead and coordinate this and future cross-sector action to sustain American global leadership by achieving equity across STEMM fields.
The SOA will galvanize stakeholders to achieve STEMM equity and excellence across the national vision’s five action areas by 2050. This effort will bring together organizations and entities from across sectors and scientific communities that are committed to developing and advancing a strategy for achieving shared national goals for equity in STEMM. To date, more than $4 million has been committed to launching SOA and seeding the initial years of its catalytic impact.
“The Nation’s priorities — from pandemic preparedness to clean energy to supply chain independence — rely on many forms of science and technology skills and expertise,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Assistant to the President and OSTP Principal Deputy Director for Science and Society. “By responding with intention and focus to these five core action areas, we can meet these critical goals and galvanize action across sectors to achieve an equitable, thriving, and eminent science and technology ecosystem for the United States.”
“Diversity of thought derived from diversity of experience is essential to scientific excellence,” said Dr. Sudip S. Parikh, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “America’s diverse talent gives us a critical competitive global advantage, but to capitalize on recent investments and meet future demand, we must eliminate systemic barriers that limit who can participate in STEMM. A clear and accountable national strategy will enable the scientific excellence needed to power new innovations and meet formidable future challenges through a uniquely American lens.”
“An equitable science isn’t a luxury, but a necessity if we want to live in a country that is just and that can compete globally in the 21st century,” said Sam Gill, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “The breadth of partners and depth of commitments in today’s event signal a historic opportunity to work across sectors and fields to make equity in science a reality.”
The Biden-Harris Administration has championed new transformative investments in American innovation: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, the Executive Order Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation, and more, are empowering American institutions, research, development, and this initiative will further ensure that innovation will continue making life better, safer, and more prosperous for all, for generations to come.
Today’s new actions will serve to ensure that this historic momentum in science and technology translates into equitable results for all communities, regardless of race, zip code, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, region, or disability. These actions will help to ensure that as President Biden has said, “We can channel the full talents of all our people into a greater measure of hope and opportunity for our nation and for the world.”