US president Joe Biden is expected to name Arati Prabhakar as the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She will succeed Eric Lander who left the role nine months after his appointment after he admitted to bullying his staff and creating a hostile work environment during his tenure.
Once the Senate approves the 63-year-old’s appointment, Arati would be the first woman and the first person of color to serve as science adviser to the President of the United States. Her role will require advising Biden on how to compete with China, bring forth rules which will protect US-funded academic research from theft and aim to reduce inequality within the research community.
Past work for US president:
Arati also served in top roles during the presidential tenures of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The Clinton administration picked her to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Obama administration picked her to lead the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Who is Arati Prabhakar?
- Arati was born in India and raised in Texas. She completed her Ph.D from the California Institute of Technology in 1984 following which she spent 7 years as a program manager at DARPA before leading the NIST.
- She also spent more than a decade as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. During her time as DARPA chief she created a biotechnology office which pioneered work on RNA vaccines to fight the current pandemic.
- She also founded Actuate which provides solutions in areas ranging from sustainable energy and public health to the ethical use of technology.
- Arati’s main task would be to counter China.