The Biden administration has appointed Andrea Goldsmith, dean of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Dean Andrea Goldsmith


Dean Andrea Goldsmith

David Kelly Crow

The council, made up of leading scientists and engineers outside government, has a broad mandate to advise the president on policy related to science, technology and innovation, as well as on matters “needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, the environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.” The panel will be led by geneticist and Princeton alumnus Eric Lander and cochaired by Nobel Laureate and Princeton Engineering alumna Frances Arnold and astronomer Maria Zuber.

The council also will include Stephen Pacala, Princeton’s Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Biology and associated faculty in the High Meadows Environmental Institute, and alumni John Dabiri, who earned his undergraduate degree in engineering in 2001, and Terence Tao, who earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1996.

“As a nation and a global community, we have an opportunity like never before to harness science, technology and innovation to to benefit humanity, including improved health and welfare as well as making our planet more resilient and sustainable,” said Goldsmith, who also is Princeton’s Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I am honored to serve on this panel with amazing colleagues all focused on realizing that potential.”

In announcing the appointments of Lander, Arnold and Zuber, Biden said the members of the council, which is part of the cabinet-level Office of Science and Technology Policy, “represent enormous possibilities.”

“They are the ones asking the most American question, “What next?” Biden said. “They are not asking questions for the sake of questions; they are asking these questions as a call to action, to inspire, to help us imagine a future and figure out how to make it real to improve the lives of the American people and people around the world.”

Biden tasked the committee with addressing five questions: What lessons from the pandemic can address the widest range of public health needs; how can science and technology address climate change while improving the economy, health and communities previously left behind; how can the United States ensure its leadership in science and technology globally; how can we “guarantee that the fruits of science and technology are fully shared across America and among all Americans”; and how can we “ensure the long-term health of science and technology in our nation?”

Goldsmith, who joined Princeton as dean of engineering in September 2020, previously served on the faculties of Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology. A pioneer in the field of wireless technology, she was founder and chief technology officer of two companies, Plume WiFi and Quantenna Inc. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts of Sciences and was the first woman to win the Marconi Prize, the highest honor in telecommunications research. She has served in leadership roles with the electrical engineering professional society, IEEE, with a particular focus on increasing diversity and inclusion.

Goldsmith said that her role on the presidential council aligns with Princeton University’s mission of service and particularly with the engineering school’s focus on harnessing technology, innovation and design for broad societal good. “Science and engineering are woven into our day-to-day lives and the future of the planet,” she said. “As engineers, our job is not just to discover and innovate but to think broadly and inclusively about the impacts of our work. That is the kind of human-centered approach I hope to bring to the council and its work for society.”