Office of Science and Technology Policy

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Office of Science and Technology Policy
Agency overview
FormedMay 11, 1976; 43 years ago (1976-05-11)
Preceding agency
  • Office of Science and Technology
HeadquartersEisenhower Executive Office Building
725 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Agency executive
Parent agencyExecutive Office of the President

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is a department of the United States government, part of the Executive Office of the President (EOP), established by United States Congress on May 11, 1976, with a broad mandate to advise the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs.

The director of this office is colloquially known as the President's Science Advisor. The position has been vacant since President Donald Trump took office, along with a number of other leadership positions in the agency.[1] In January 2019, meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was confirmed to the position, after almost two years of the position being vacant.[2]


President Ford signing H.R. 10230, establishing the Office of Science and Technology Policy

President Richard M. Nixon eliminated the President's Science Advisory Committee after his second Science Advisor, Edward E. David Jr., resigned in 1973, rather than appointing a replacement. The United States Congress then established the OSTP in 1976 with a broad mandate to advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. The 1976 Act also authorizes OSTP to lead inter-agency efforts to develop and to implement sound science and technology policies and budgets and to work with the private sector, state and local governments, the science and higher education communities, and other nations toward this end.

Under President Donald Trump, OSTP's staff dropped from 135 to 45 people.[3] As of March 29, 2018, the OSTP director position remains vacant, the longest vacancy for the position since the office's founding.[4] Kelvin Droegemeier, an atmospheric scientist who currently serves as the vice president of research at the University of Oklahoma, was nominated for the position on August 1, 2018[5] and confirmed by the Senate on January 2, 2019.


The OSTP's mission is set out in the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (Pub. L. 94-282). The act calls for the OSTP to serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government.

It further authorizes the OSTP to:

  • Advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the impacts of science and technology on domestic and international affairs;
  • Lead an inter-agency effort to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets;
  • Work with the private sector to ensure Federal investments in science and technology contribute to economic prosperity, environmental quality, and national security;
  • Build strong partnerships among Federal, State, and local governments, other countries, and the scientific community;
  • Evaluate the scale, quality, and effectiveness of the Federal effort in science and technology.[6]

The OSTP handles a broad range of scientific and technological issues within the Executive Office of the President. It participates in a multitude of White House Policy Coordinating Committees (PCC) that are tasked with developing policies for the federal government and are populated by senior officials from cabinet and independent agencies. The OSTP has approximately 45 staff members, most of whom are experienced scientists functioning as assistant directors or policy analysts.

Public facing key staff[edit]

Key positions vary among administrations and are not always published online. [7]



No. Portrait Name President Term
1 H. Guyford Stever Gerald Ford 1976–1977
2 Frank Press Jerusalem1953.jpg Frank Press Jimmy Carter 1977–1981
Benjamin Huberman (acting) Ronald Reagan 1981
3 George A. Keyworth, II 1981, 4.jpg George A. Keyworth, II 1981–1985
John P. McTague (acting) 1986
Richard G. Johnson (acting) 1986
4 William Robert Graham, NASA photo portrait, November 1985.jpg William Robert Graham 1986–1989
Thomas P. Rona (acting) 1989
William G. Wells (acting) George H. W. Bush 1989
5 D. Allan Bromley 1989–1993
6 John H. Gibbons Bill Clinton 1993–1998
Kerri-Ann Jones.jpg Kerri-Ann Jones (acting) 1998
7 Neal-lane.jpg Neal F. Lane 1998–2001
Dean Rosina M. Bierbaum.jpg Rosina Bierbaum (acting) George W. Bush 2001
Clifford Gabriel (acting) 2001
8 John Marburger official portrait.jpg John H. Marburger III 2001–2009
9 John Holdren official portrait small.jpg John Holdren Barack Obama 2009–2017
10 Kelvin Droegemeier.jpg Kelvin Droegemeier Donald Trump 2019–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (January 20, 2018). "The lasting impacts of Trump's first year". Wired.
  2. ^ Reardon, Sara; Witze, Alexandra (31 July 2018). "The wait is over: Trump taps meteorologist as White House science adviser". Nature.
  3. ^ Alemany, Jacqueline (November 21, 2017). "Donald Trump's science office is a ghost town". CBS.
  4. ^ Aldhouse, Peter (January 18, 2017). "Trump's war on science isn't what you think". CBS.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "About OSTP: Department Organization". Office of Science and Technology Policy. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Trump's White House science office still small and waiting for leadership". Science | AAAS. 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Previous Science Advisors (1973–2009)". White House – via National Archives and Records Administration.

External links[edit]