Elevating Science and Technology Policy at the State Department

Author: Libbie Prescott


Science and technology (S&T) must play a prominent and strategic role at all levels of United States foreign policy. On Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration should reinvigorate and reassert U.S. strength in science, technology, and data-driven decision making. S&T issues at the Department of State (Department) have historically been concentrated into specific offices and personnel, which has constrained the use of S&T as a tool to advance U.S. foreign policy goals. On Day One, the Administration can better identify, allocate, and elevate S&T issues and personnel throughout the Department. Building and rewarding diverse teams with the right mix of skills is good management for any organization, and could create significant progress toward breaking down the silos that prevent the realization of the full benefits of the S&T expertise that already exists among U.S diplomatic personnel.

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About the Authors

Elizabeth “Libbie” Prescott works at the intersection of science, technology, and policy at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Previously, Libbie was a Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has served in government at the Department of State, DOD, and the intelligence community as well as the Senate HELP Committee as an AAAS S&T Fellow working with Senator Kennedy. Libbie has her doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Oxford, Balliol College and dual degrees with high honors in Economics and Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.