By Frank Konkel, Executive Editor, Nextgov
President Joe Biden Tuesday announced his nomination of Dr. Arati Prabhakar to serve as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Prabhakar, an engineer and applied physicist by trade, also has significant leadership experience under three presidential administrations. Prabhakar was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate to serve as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology from 1993 to 1997, and she later served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, from 2012 to 2017.
“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,” President Biden said in a statement.
The appointment addresses concerns voiced by lawmakers over OSTP’s lack of permanent leadership. Alondra Nelson has served as the acting OSTP director since Feb. 17 following the resignation of the previous director, Eric Lander, amid reports of bullying and a hostile work environment.
“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,” Biden added.
Prabhakar is the first woman, immigrant or person of color nominated to serve as the Senate-confirmed director of OSTP, according to the White House.