The former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would go down in history as the first confirmed woman, immigrant or person of color to lead the ‘OSTP
Today, President Biden announced his intention to appoint Dr. Arati Prabhakar as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and once confirmed in that position, also as Assistant to the President for science and technology. In this capacity, Dr. Prabhakar will serve as the President’s Chief Advisor on Science and Technology, Co-Chair 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 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 most difficult and make the impossible possible,” President Biden said. “I share Dr. Prabhakar’s belief that America has the most powerful innovation machine the world has ever seen. As the Senate considers his nomination, I am grateful to Dr. Alondra Nelson for continuing to lead the OSTP and to Dr. Francis Collins for continuing to be my acting Scientific Advisor.
Prabhakar has already been unanimously confirmed by the Senate to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and was the first woman to hold the post. She then served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the birthplace of breakthrough technologies such as stealth aircraft and the internet.
If confirmed as head of the OSTP, Prabhakar would become the third Asian-American, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander to serve in President Biden’s cabinet, joining Vice President Kamala Harris and the U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Today’s nomination is historic, with Prabhakar being the first woman, immigrant or person of color nominated to serve as OSTP’s Senate Confirmed Director.
Dr. Arati Prabhakar, candidate for the post of Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Dr. Arati Prabhakar has led two different federal R&D agencies and has worked with startups, large corporations, universities, government labs, and nonprofits in a wide variety of industries to create powerful new solutions. for critical challenges. She is an engineer and applied physicist with extensive management and leadership skills.
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 to detect nuclear and radiological materials before a terrorist could build a bomb, which has developed tools to find human trafficking. networks in the Deep and Dark Web, and which have allowed complex military systems to work together even when they were not originally designed to do so. It has also created a new office to stimulate new biotechnologies. Under his leadership, DARPA initiated the development of a rapid-response mRNA vaccine platform, making possible the fastest safe and effective vaccine development in global history in response to COVID-19.
Prabhakar has been unanimously confirmed by the US Senate to head the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), taking the helm at age 34 as the first woman to lead the agency. At NIST, which she led from 1993 to 1997, she helped move from the initial stage to the national scale the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to stimulate the competitiveness of small and medium-sized manufacturers, and the Advanced Technology Program to stimulate advanced technologies at an early stage. development. It also reinforced NIST’s long-standing mission in measurement science and technology that underpins high-quality commerce and manufacturing.
Between her federal leadership roles, Prabhakar spent 15 years in Silicon Valley, helping to deploy R&D as a corporate executive and as a venture capitalist. His work included components for consumer electronics and semiconductor process technology. In 2019, she founded Actuate, a non-profit organization bringing together new actors to develop solutions to climate, health, reliable data and information technology challenges, and open access to opportunities for each person.
Prabhakar’s family immigrated from India to the United States when she was three years old – first to Chicago, then settled when she was 10 in Lubbock, Texas, where she later graduated. his degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University. She was the first woman to earn a doctorate. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology, where she also earned an M.S. in Electrical Engineering. She began her career in the legislative branch as a congresswoman with 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.