The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) was established by Executive Order on November 23, 1993. This Cabinet-level Council is the principal means within the Executive Branch to coordinate science and technology policy across the diverse entities that make up the Federal research and development enterprise. Chaired by the President, the membership of the NSTC is made up of the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads with significant science and technology responsibilities, and other White House officials. In practice, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy oversees the NSTC’s ongoing activities.
A primary objective of the NSTC is establishing clear national goals for Federal science and technology investments in a broad array of areas spanning virtually all the mission areas of the Executive Branch. The Council prepares research and development strategies that are coordinated across Federal agencies aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals. The work of the NSTC is organized under six primary committees: S&T Enterprise, Environment, Homeland and National Security, Science, STEM Education, and Technology. Each of these committees oversees subcommittees and working groups focused on different aspects of science and technology and working to coordinate across the federal government.
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Committee on S&T Enterprise
The Committee on S&T Enterprise is a newly formed committee in response to the charge of the OMB-OSTP FY2019 R&D Budget Priorities memo to increase efficiency across Federal R&D efforts. Current focus areas include expanding technology transfer, improving Federal data management, strengthening contributions of Federal scientific collections to priority areas of national interest like infectious diseases, biosecurity, and food security, reducing administrative burdens on federally funded researchers, and modernizing research infrastructure to support our national innovation base.
Committee on Environment
The Committee on Environment coordinates interagency work related to polar research, earth observations, environmental quality and health, ocean sciences, and other areas. Current focus areas include improving ocean mapping, strengthening aging water infrastructure, integrating earth observation systems to represent both ocean and ice, and coordinating development of real-time exposure monitoring of contaminants.
Committee on Homeland and National Security
The Committee on Homeland and National Security coordinates interagency work related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) defense, critical infrastructure security and resilience, cybersecurity, natural disaster preparedness, and other areas. Current focus areas include improving pandemic prediction and forecasting, minimizing the impacts of natural hazards and extreme weather, coordinating cybersecurity R&D to protect the Nation’s critical infrastructure including grid security, and advancing sensor and detection technologies to secure U.S. borders.
Committee on Science
The Committee on Science coordinates interagency work related to food and agricultural sciences, biological sciences, quantum information science, and physical sciences. Current focus areas include increasing U.S. aquaculture production and reducing the seafood trade deficit; coordinating fusion energy science research; cultivating a better understanding of low-dose radiation biology and applications of gene-editing; ensuring that the results of federally funded research are accessible to the public, industry, and scientific community in a useful form; and advancing quantum information science.
Committee on STEM Education
The Committee on STEM Education coordinates interagency investments in STEM education and develops the strategic plan that sets national goals for STEM education efforts across the Federal Government. Current focus areas include expanding school-business partnerships, work-based learning, and the skilled technical workforce.
Committee on Technology
The Committee on Technology coordinates interagency work related to advanced manufacturing and materials, autonomous and unmanned transportation, artificial intelligence (AI), nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Current focus areas include integrating drones into the national airspace, coordinating supersonic flight R&D, managing Federal AI research, advancing U.S. leadership in nanotechnology, and modernizing the Federal regulatory framework for biotechnology products.