Announcements

Engineer and CASBS Alumnus Arati Prabhakar Tabbed to Head U.S. Science Policy Office

June 21, 2022 880

Engineer and applied physicist Arati Prabhakar – who previously headed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology — has been nominated to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy and as such be the chief science adviser to the U.S. president.

If her nomination by President Joe Biden is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she will become the first woman, immigrant, and person of color confirmed to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or OSTP. The office is currently overseen by sociologist Alondra Nelson, serving on an acting basis since Eric Lander stepped down in February amid allegations of bullying.

Outdoor headshot of Arati Prabhakar
Arati Prabhakar (Photo: Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University)

“Dr. Prabhakar is a brilliant and highly-respected engineer and applied physicist and will lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy to leverage science, technology, and innovation to expand our possibilities, solve our toughest challenges, and make the impossible possible,”  Biden was quoted in a release from the White House. “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.”

While Prabhakar comes from the STEM world, her experiences include a 2017-18 fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Her aim there was to take “a fresh look at long-standing issues — how our society creates technology and how we make wise choices about its use — for this era of global, fast-paced advances.”

In addition to being the president’s chief advisor for science and technology, Prabhakar would be co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and a member of the presidential cabinet.

Prabhakar has been confirmed by the Senate before – unanimously – to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Starting at age 34, she led the institute from 1993 to 1997. She served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, from 2012 to 2017. Under her leadership, the White House noted, DARPA kick-started the development of a rapid-response mRNA vaccine platform that made possible the quick development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Between leading NIST and then DARPA, Prabhakar spent 15 years in Silicon Valley, helping bring R&D to deployment as a company executive and as a venture capitalist. In 2019, she founded Actuate, a non-profit organization bringing new actors to the table to develop solutions to the challenges of climate, health, trustworthy data and information technology, and opening access to opportunity for every person.

Prabhakar’s family immigrated from India to the United States when she was 3. She earned a degree in electrical engineering degree from Texas Tech University and was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology, where she also earned an M.S. in electrical engineering. She is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Related Articles

Developing AFIRE – Platform Connects Research Funders with Innovative Experiments
Resources
July 16, 2024

Developing AFIRE – Platform Connects Research Funders with Innovative Experiments

Read Now
Felice Levine to Leave AERA in 2025
Announcements
June 25, 2024

Felice Levine to Leave AERA in 2025

Read Now
Karine Morin Takes Helm of Canada’s Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Announcements
June 20, 2024

Karine Morin Takes Helm of Canada’s Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Read Now
Pandemic Nemesis: Illich reconsidered
News
June 14, 2024

Pandemic Nemesis: Illich reconsidered

Read Now
How ‘Dad Jokes’ Help Children Learn How To Handle Embarrassment

How ‘Dad Jokes’ Help Children Learn How To Handle Embarrassment

Yes, dad jokes can be fun. They play an important role in how we interact with our kids. But dad jokes may also help prepare them to handle embarrassment later in life.

Read Now
Nominations Open for 2025 Sage-CASBS Award

Nominations Open for 2025 Sage-CASBS Award

The award recognizes achievement in the social and behavioral sciences that advances understanding of pressing social issues. Deadline: September 16, 2024.

Read Now
Opportunity to Participate in RFI on Proposed National Secure Data Service

Opportunity to Participate in RFI on Proposed National Secure Data Service

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, scientific collaboration and diplomacy are key when trying to effectively address the […]

Read Now
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments