President Biden will appoint Dr. Arati Prabhakar in the Directorate of Science and Technology Policy

The former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would make history as the first woman, immigrant or person of color to be confirmed to head OSTP.

Today, President Biden announced his intention to nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar to serve as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and was recently confirmed in this position, also as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. In this capacity, Dr. Prabhakar will be the President’s Principal Advisor on Science and Technology, a co-chairman of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and a member of the President’s Cabinet.

“Dr. Prabhakar is a brilliant and highly respected applied engineer and physicist and will lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy to harness science, technology and innovation to expand our opportunities, solve our toughest challenges and make the impossible possible,” said President Biden. . “I share Dr. Prabhakar’s belief that America has the most powerful innovation machine the world has ever seen. As the Senate considers her nomination, I am grateful that Dr. Alondra Nelson will continue to lead OSTP and Dr. Francis Collins will continue to serve as my acting Science Advisor.”

Prabhakar was unanimously confirmed by the Senate earlier to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and was the first woman to hold that role. She later served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the birthplace of new technologies such as stealth aircraft and the Internet.

If confirmed to lead OSTP, Prabhakar would become the third Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander to serve in President Biden’s cabinet, joining Vice President Kamala Harris and US Trade Representative- of Katherine Tai. Today’s appointment is historic, with Prabhakar being the first woman, immigrant or person of color nominated to serve as OSTP director confirmed by the Senate.

Dr. Arati Prabhakar, appointed to serve as Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Arati Prabhakar has led two different federal research and development agencies and has worked with startups, large companies, universities, government labs, and nonprofits across a wide range of sectors to create powerful new solutions to critical challenges. She is an engineer and applied physicist with extensive management and leadership credentials.

Prabhakar served as director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, from 2012 to 2017. At DARPA, she oversaw teams that prototyped a system for detecting nuclear and radiological materials before a terrorist could build one. bomb, that developed tools to find human trafficking networks on the deep and dark web, and that enabled complex military systems to work together even when they weren’t originally designed to do so. It also created a new office to foster new biotechnologies. Under her leadership, DARPA initiated the development of a rapid response mRNA vaccine platform, enabling the fastest development of safe and effective vaccines in world history in response to COVID-19.

Prabhakar was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), taking over at the age of 34 as the first woman to lead the agency. At NIST, which she directed from 1993 to 1997, she helped develop the national early seed stage, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to Increase the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Producers, and the Technology Program Advanced to stimulate early stage advanced technology. development. It also reinforced NIST’s long-term mission of measurement science and technology that supports commerce and high-quality manufacturing.

Between her federal leadership roles, Prabhakar spent 15 years in Silicon Valley, helping to bring R&D to an executive company and as a venture capitalist. Her work included components for consumer electronics and semiconductor process technology. In 2019, she founded Actuate, a non-profit organization that brings young actors to the table to develop solutions to the challenges of climate, health, reliable data and information technology, and opening access to opportunities for every person.

Prabhakar’s family immigrated from India to the United States when she was three years old—first to Chicago and then settled when she was 10 in Lubbock, Texas, where she went on to earn her electrical engineering degree from Texas Tech University. She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology, where she also earned an MS in electrical engineering. She began her career in the legislative branch as a member of Congress in the Office of Technology Assessment.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering and was a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.


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