Washington Update

White House Announces PCAST Members

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Thursday, September 30, 2021

On September 22, the White House announced the members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the independent federal advisory committee responsible for developing science and technology policy recommendations to the president. In a video announcing the appointments, President Biden characterized the council’s membership as “the most diverse in PCAST history.”

The diversity of PCAST reflects Biden’s commitment to reinvigorate the United States’ science and technology strategy by leveraging the broad range of perspectives within the research enterprise. Accordingly, Biden signed an executive order earlier this month, expanding the maximum number of PCAST members from 26 to 32, the most extensive membership roster to date.

For the first time since the council’s creation in 1957, PCAST will consist of half women and one-third underrepresented minorities and immigrants. Two women will also co-chair the council, another first for the renowned advisory group. In addition to racial, gender, and ethnic diversity, PCAST members represent a broad spectrum of research expertise, including life sciences, physical sciences, and private industry. Two-thirds of the members belong to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and several others previously held government positions or worked at one of the national laboratories.

PCAST held its first virtual meetings on September 28-29, focused on strengthening U.S. science and technology global leadership for the 21st century and the state of U.S. public health preparedness, respectively. More information about PCAST, including membership and forthcoming reports, is available on its website.