Committee Approves Office of Science and Technology Policy Nomination

May 20, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Eric S. Lander to be Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) by voice vote. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Chair of the committee, spoke about the responsibilities and importance of this Cabinet role, and stressed the need for increased diversity in STEM:

“This position of Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy is charged with advising the president on a broad range of scientific and technical policies to address the nation's problems. We are at a critical moment when science and innovation has never been more important to our health, to our economy, to our well-being, to our planet, and to our way of life. For the first time in our country's history, President Biden has elevated this position to a Cabinet-level post, underscoring its significance and importance of the role that science will play in decision-making.”

“Dr. Lander and I have come to a focus and understanding that the very first task that you should focus on is helping all of us add diversity of women and minorities in the science field… In doing the Endless Frontier Act, we have seen and understood how important an active and aggressive approach that we need to take to this. I'm very proud that the University of Washington had an NSF grant and worked on this very issue, and their most important recommendation to us is we couldn't be passive about this issue. This issue takes an aggressive approach, you have to change the faces of people who are doing science, you have to accommodate women in the challenges that we face that we saw during COVID, of the fact that women were both caregivers and scientists at the same time and thereby didn't have all the resources they needed to get their science work done.”

Video of Chair Cantwell’s opening statement can be found HERE, audio is HERE, and a transcript is HERE.