Dr. Arati Prabhakar Confirmed as OSTP Director

By a vote of 56-40, the Senate confirmed Dr. Arati Prabhakar to be the next Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Dr. Prabhakar is the first woman and person of color to be confirmed by the Senate to lead the OSTP. The OSTP advises the president on federal research development as well as presidential initiatives related to science and technology. In the past, Dr. Prabhakar served as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Clinton Administration and then Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the Obama Administration. Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Alondra Nelson praised Dr. Prabhakar’s confirmation in a statement, saying “Over the course of her career, Dr. Prabhakar’s leadership has propelled solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing American society. At the helm of NIST and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), she demonstrated a rare ability to work across silos and sectors to forge consensus and deliver important accomplishments. As we move forward with our agenda of transformative investments in scientific research and development, an equitable STEM ecosystem, climate and energy solutions, competitiveness, and technological and economic security, as a result of the Biden-Harris Administration’s landmark legislative achievements, we are fortunate to now benefit from her deep experience.”

The confirmation of Dr. Prabhakar comes on the heels of the release of OSTP’s updated guidance on public access. This guidance directs federal agencies to make the results of taxpayer-supported research freely and immediately available to the public. A detailed OSTP memo on the guidance and report were also recently released.