President Biden Expected to Nominate Former DARPA Director, Physicist to OSTP Post

On June 21, President Biden is expected to nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar as the next Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Presidential Science Advisor. As previously reported, Dr. Alondra Nelson was named in February as the interim director of OSTP following the resignation of Eric Lander who stepped down after less than a year in the position amid allegations of workplace bullying. Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, has been serving as the interim science advisor to the President. Upon Prabahaker’s confirmation, which is required for the OSTP post but not to serve as the President’s Science Advisor, Nelson, a sociologist, will return to her position as OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society where she is leading efforts around scientific integrity, research security, and diversity in the scientific workforce, among other initiatives.

Dr. Prabhakar is an applied physicist who is well versed in the U.S. federal research enterprise. She previously served as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the Clinton Administration and as head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the Obama Administration. If confirmed, she will be the first woman and person of color to secure Senate confirmation to lead the agency.


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