The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is an office within the Executive Office of the President (EOP). Congress established the current OSTP 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 OSTP Director is referred to as the President’s Science Advisor. The first OSTP was established in 1961 by former President John F. Kennedy to provide advice and recommendation in response to the growing importance of space exploration.
The National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 authorizes OSTP to lead inter-agency efforts to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets. It also authorizes OSTP to work on science and technology policies with the private sector, state and local governments, the science and higher education communities, and other nations. The Act further authorizes OSTP to build strong partnerships among Federal, State, and local governments and other countries. The OSTP has the authority to evaluate the scale, quality, and effectiveness of the federal effort in science and technology.
OSTP is led by a Director who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The OSTP also has four Associate Directors. It has approximately 45 members, functioning as assistant directors or policy analysts, most of whom are experienced scientists.
The Organization of OSTP consists of four divisions:
- Energy/Environment Division: The division ensures a sound scientific and technical base for environmental policies, and an interagency research and development strategy for environment and natural resource issues.
- National Security and International Affairs Division: The division leads the White House effort to use science and technology in the service of national security, and to coordinate international cooperation in science & technology.
- Science Division: The division ensures that the United States maintains global leadership in science, mathematics, and engineering and that science continues to provide support for the successful resolution of problems in the areas of health, agriculture, the economy, energy, social well-being, education, and national security.
- Technology Division: The division is committed to advancing a comprehensive technology and innovation plan.
OSTP provides expert advice to the President in all areas of science and technology. OSTP also helps the President to coordinate science, space, and technology policy and programs across the federal government through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).
The work of OSTP also includes:
- coordinating the Federal government’s research and development efforts to maximize the return on the public’s investment in science & technology;
- communicating the President’s science & technology policies and programs to Congress; and
- developing and maintaining international cooperation in science and technology.