About STPI

The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), located across from the White House in Washington, DC, is one of three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) operated by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a nonprofit corporation. STPI was established by Congress to inform the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President.

STPI’s interdisciplinary staff provides responsive, high-quality analyses of national and international science and technology (S&T) issues important to OSTP and other executive branch sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Space Council, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Energy.

STPI staff collaborating
STPI staff collaborating
STPI staff collaborating

Addressing a range of topic areas

For these and other federal sponsors, STPI provides technical and analytical support that focuses on S&T issues across a wide range of areas:

STPI staff collaborating
  • Critical infrastructure and resilience
  • Energy and environment
  • Homeland and national security
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Innovation and competitiveness
  • International science and technology
  • Life sciences
  • Research and development infrastructure
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce
  • Social and behavioral sciences
  • Space, aviation, and transportation

Recent examples of STPI contributions to the federal S&T enterprise include:

  • Policy analysis and development
    • Assisting with the coordination of national resilience to electromagnetic pulses
    • Exploring policy approaches for encouraging the responsible management and use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) data across critical infrastructure sectors
    • Supporting the development of a federal strategy establishing STEM education and workforce goals
  • Program evaluation
    • Conducting an independent assessment of feasibility of a human mission to Mars by 2033
    • Evaluating concepts for small satellite launch vehicles
  • Science and technology assessment
    • Examining the status of and challenges faced by the commercial space nuclear power and propulsion sector
    • Developing a health research and development roadmap to stem the opioid crisis
    • Examining emerging technologies and their impact on non-federal spectrum demand
  • Data collection and analysis
    • Convening space weather scientists to better characterize extreme space weather phenomena
    • Investigating Chinese government expenditures in artificial intelligence
    • Analyzing the U.S. Antarctic logistics support program
  • Strategic planning and metrics
    • Supporting the development of a national-level policy on the U.S. bioeconomy
    • Developing a national research strategy to advance veterans suicide prevention
    • Developing a roadmap of geothermal energy research needs to inform an agency initiative
  • Economic and business case analysis
    • Assessing global trends in on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing
    • Assessing global trends in space situational awareness and space traffic management
    • Assessing the emerging commercial space sector in China

Leveraging a diverse and experienced staff

STPI’s researchers include physical scientists, life scientists, engineers, social and behavioral scientists, economists, historians, STEM experts, and attorneys. Nearly all of the senior research staff hold doctorates in their respective technical fields. When needed, STPI also draws on the talents of the large, diverse research staff of another IDA FFRDC, the Systems and Analyses Center, which supports the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

STPI’s 2-year Science Policy Fellowship Program provides recent bachelor’s degree recipients with opportunities to develop professionally by using their critical thinking and analytic skills in support of a variety of S&T policy-related tasks.