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Arati Prabhakar Confirmed as White House Science Policy Director

Arati Prabhakar Confirmed as White House Science Policy Director

Last week, the Senate voted 56-40 to confirm Dr. Arati Prabhakar as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), clearing her to lead a position left split since the previous OSTP Director and Presidential Science Adviser, Dr. Eric Lander, resigned in February of this year. Dr. Prabhakar brings an amazing wealth of experience managing world-class science and engineering institutions to OSTP, having previously served as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
ASME’s Executive Director and CEO Tom Costabile welcomed news of the confirmation: “ASME applauds the U.S. Senate for confirming Dr. Arati Prabhakar as the new Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Dr. Prabhakar has a long and exemplary track record of leading federal technology policy agencies and engaging with the engineering community to advance U.S technological competitiveness. Her background and expertise in semiconductors and advanced manufacturing will be helpful as the U.S. Government works to implement the historic CHIPS and Science Act. As the voice of engineering in Washington, D.C., ASME and our 100,000 members within the global engineering community look forward to engaging with her and the rest of the Biden administration to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.”
In addition to implementing recent science and technology legislation, Dr. Prabhakar will also take up implementation of OSTP’s recently released guidance to make the results of U.S.-supported research immediately available online at no cost. OSTP has worked since the enactment of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–358) to establish procedures and define policies across the government for public access to federal research, a process that has yielded plans ensuring all federal research results are available for free no later than one year after their publication. Release of the new public access guidance just weeks ago by Acting Director of OSTP Alondra Nelson came as surprise to the research and publication communities. OSTP had been directed by Congress to provide a detailed economic analysis of any newly-created costs, including any potential new costs for grant recipients; instead, OSTP issued a report acknowledging that “a shift in federal policy would also likely impact smaller not-for-profit publishers and those supporting scholarly and professional societies” but provided no detailed economic analysis of the impact of additional open access mandates on researchers and scholarly publishers.
Read the full text of OSTP’s August 28th open access publication and data guidance here.

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