The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced in May the formation of an interagency committee tasked with addressing a number of issues troubling the American research enterprise.
The committee’s priorities are reducing administrative burden, increasing rigor and reproducibility, increasing the participation of underrepresented groups, preventing gender and sexual harassment, and safeguarding intellectual property from foreign competitors and influence.
The committee will be co-chaired by OSTP Director Kelvin Droegemeier, National Science Foundation Director France Córdova, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Walt Copan, and Department of Energy Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar. It also will include leaders from NASA, the Department of Defense’s Research and Engineering for Research and Technology program and the National Security Agency.
The decision to put together this group comes as multiple federal research funding agencies are contending with foreign influence on taxpayer funded research, gender and sexual harassment and lack of diversity and inclusion in STEM.
While some agencies have begun developing internal policies to address these problems, coordination across the government has been lacking. It is important that policies to, for example, increase and improve reporting by institutions about gender and sexual harassment, be consistent across federal agencies.
In a statement, Droegemeier insisted the committee is a top priority at the OSTP, saying that it is “critical we remove any obstacles in the way of the scientists, engineers, and inventors of today and tomorrow achieving their full potential.”
The ASBMB will monitor the activities of the committee and provide input whenever possible to help guide its efforts.