White House Director of Science and Technology Policy Urges Stronger Collaboration with the Private Sector

Feb 22, 2019

At the recent Annual Meeting of the AAAS, Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) spoke to the importance of the role industry and the private sector play in basic research and development (R&D), while also trying to temper the pedestal federal funding is often given. “In fact, in 2015, for the first time in the history of this country, the private sector funded more basic research than did the federal government. Now, that didn’t happen because the federal government stopped funding basic research, but it happened because American companies have the freedom to be creative and to invest and to explore new ideas,”   

Droegemeier further elaborated on the contributions of the private sector to R&D, citing statistics highlighting what is being done by industry and nonprofit groups today. He called for a “second bold era of America’s endless frontier in science and technology” that will accurately show how the U.S.’s work in R&D has grown. He also called for greater collaboration between industry and academia, citing the implementation of “alpha institutes”. These institutes would be located at higher education institutions and funded at least in part but industry and nonprofit foundations.

Dr. Droegemeier is a meteorologist by training and was nominated to assume the position of OSTP Director by President Trump last year. The role of OSTP is to advise the president on science-related issues as they pertain to the country’s economy, national security, foreign relations and environment. The office was formed over 40 years ago and sits under the Executive Office of the President. There are currently around 50 staff in the office, which has seen a strong shift towards technology issues with this new administration.

To read of transcript of Dr. Droegemeier’s full AAAS presentation, click here: https://meetings.aaas.org/kelvin-droegemeier-livestream/