Along with actionable measures to ensure scientific integrity within federal agencies, Biden prioritizes diversity within scientific committees.
Within the first two weeks of Joe Biden's time at the White House as President, he has set his administration's principles and values giving us an indication of what the next four years will look like. In addition to making diversity and inclusivity top priorities, Biden has made sure to center scientific integrity, basing policy on data and evidence rather than political considerations. To reaffirm his administration's focus on the evidence, the President issued the Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking memorandum. The directive is similar to an executive order. Its main aim is to prevent "improper political interference," IFL Science reports.
Important, explicit embrace of behavioral science by President Biden: "OMB shall consider whether . . . agencies’ evidence-building plans . . . shall include . . . approaches that may be informed by the social and behavioral sciences and data science." https://t.co/3pP7ePDP1T— Cass Sunstein (@CassSunstein) January 27, 2021
The memorandum's preamble reads, "It is the policy of my Administration to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data. Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government. Scientific findings should never be distorted or influenced by political considerations." Biden also has plans to sign an executive in order to re-establish the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. After four years of a White House influenced by partisan values, this comes as a welcome step.
To this effect, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will play a key role under the Biden administration. The OSTP is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring scientific integrity across all federal agencies. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have nominated mathematician and geneticist Eric Lander for the directorial post. In the past, he has served as the co-chair of former President Barack Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Should he be confirmed for the position, he will manage an interagency task force in charge of reviewing the effectiveness of scientific integrity policies within various agencies and Departments. The review is scheduled to take place within the first 120 days of the Director and other members' appointments.
Biden WH’s Wed focus is climate. Briefing at 12:15 w Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and @presssec. Then at 1:30 the president will sign exec actions on “climate change, creating jobs, and restoring scientific integrity.”— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) January 27, 2021
Additionally, there are several changes coming to each individual federal agency. For instance, an agency must appoint a Chief Science Officer, responsible for ensuring research programs are conducted with integrity; scientists and their work are protected; and the prevention of suppression or distortion of data, if it oversees, directs, or funds research. Agencies must also review their current Scientific Advisory committees. The memorandum reads, "Within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, heads of agencies shall review their current and future needs for independent scientific and technological advice from Federal advisory committees, commissions, and boards."
President Biden to deliver remarks on his plan to tackle climate change and sign related executive actions to further the key part of his agenda, which includes “creating jobs and restoring scientific integrity,” the White House says. https://t.co/V19poBfPgr— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 27, 2021
A crucial part of the memorandum is its emphasis on diversity within federal agencies. It calls for the heads of all federal agencies to make sure the current and future members represent American diversity with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, and geography. It affirms, "Improper political interference in the work of federal scientists or other scientists who support the work of the Federal Government and in the communication of scientific facts undermines the welfare of the Nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the trust that the public places in government to best serve its collective interests."
Today, @POTUS Biden put scientific integrity, innovation and environmental justice front and center in the fight to curb emissions and create American jobs. This is a tremendous step toward a clean-energy future for our ocean — and the people who depend on it. #ActOnClimate https://t.co/nh1efsye6h— Margaret Spring (@_MargaretSpring) January 27, 2021