Washington Update

OSTP Issues 2023 Scientific Priorities and Pandemic Preparedness Plan

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Thursday, September 16, 2021

Last month, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum outlining the office’s scientific priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2023. The memo cites five key areas for federal agencies to consider as they develop their FY 2023 budget submissions to the Office of Management and Budget early next year:

  • Pandemic readiness and prevention
  • Tackling climate change
  • Catalyze research and innovation in critical and emerging technologies
  • Innovation for equity
  • National security and economic resilience

To build a trustworthy and inclusive scientific enterprise, the OSTP memo also defined two cross-cutting themes for agencies to integrate when formulating budget plans. The first emphasizes building a rigorous, transparent, and secure research ecosystem while minimizing administrative burden. The second theme underscores supporting the next generation of scientists, encouraging agencies to develop measurable strategies that promote diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility in scientific learning and training environments.

As part of OSTP’s goal to strengthen pandemic readiness and prevention, OSTP unveiled its proposal to restructure U.S. preparedness against future biologic threats on September 3. The plan, American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities, applies lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and outlines opportunities for robust U.S. investment. For example, vaccine development, testing, and development are major components of the plan, with the need to develop appropriate animal models to allow researchers to study the genetic variability of viral threats specifically highlighted.

OSTP is requesting $65.3 billion for the plan, invested over seven to 10 years. To streamline the oversight and execution of the plan’s goals while maximizing interagency coordination, these funds would be managed by a single, unified “Mission Control” office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.