The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) was created by Executive Order 13226 in September 2001. Under this Executive Order, PCAST "shall advise the President . . . on matters involving science and technology policy," and "shall assist the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) in securing private sector involvement in its activities." PCAST is a body comprising the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and up to 45 members from outside the federal government with diverse expertise in science, technology, and the impact of science and technology on the United States, to provide advice on matters of science and technology policy.
PCAST is consulted about and often makes policy recommendations concerning the full range of issues where understandings from the domains of science, technology, and innovation bear potentially on the policy choices before the President. PCAST is administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
PCAST conducts workshops and sometimes uses technical advisory groups to gather information for reports to the President on topics such as federal-state cooperation, energy, U.S. competitiveness, nanotechnology, and information technology.
PCAST enables the President to receive advice from the private sector, including the academic community, on important issues relevant to technology, scientific research, mathematics and science education, and other issues of national concern. The PCAST-NSTC link provides a mechanism to facilitate the public-private exchange of ideas that inform Federal science and technology policy-making processes.
As a private sector advisory committee, PCAST recommendations do not constitute Administration policy but rather provide advice to the Administration in the science and technology arena. The Council's 34 members, appointed by the President, are drawn from industry, education and research institutions, and other nongovernmental organizations. In addition, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy serves as PCAST's Co-Chair.
PCAST was established through Executive Order 13226. PCAST was originally established by President George H.W. Bush, and was reestablished in the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations. The executive order indicates that PCAST provides a mechanism for the President “to receive advice from the private sector and academic community on technology, scientific research priorities, and math and science education.” On occasion, PCAST also meets with the President to discuss science and technology policy issues. Several presidential level advisory committees established in previous Administrations have been subsumed under PCAST.
Executive Order 13385 charged the PCAST with the responsibilities assigned to the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee under the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 and the Next Generation Internet Research Act of 1998.
The following reports and other publications of PCAST are summarized in this wiki:
- Big Data and Privacy: A Technological Perspective
- Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology
- Immediate Opportunities for Strengthening the Nation's Cybersecurity
- Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward