The Office for Science and Technology (OST)
The Office for Science and Technology (OST) at the Embassy of France in the United States is a network of 22 team members at the Embassy in Washington, D.C. and in 6 other consulates in the US including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It includes a counselor, 8 attachés for science and technology, 9 young scientists recruited as “international volunteers”, and 4 support staff. All these members bring different scientific expertise and sets of skills. This geographical and topical organization allows the OST to cover most of the scientific fields ranging from emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, 5G and quantum computing, biotechnology, and medical research to research related to agriculture, environment, and topics with a high societal impact at the global level such as climate change or the erosion of biodiversity.
This diversity of knowledge and skills facilitates dialogue with American researchers or officials in universities or federal agencies involved in scientific research. It also benefits the development of strong and lasting relationships between French research actors (organizations, universities and grandes écoles, technology transfer centers, companies, expatriate scientific community, etc.) and American scientific partners.
The OST’s missions are as follows:
• to publicize and promote French science and technology to American actors,
• to keep a scientific and technological watch on the advances made by American laboratories and research institutes and serve as an observer of American strategy in certain key areas, particularly in terms of innovation and investment in research and development,
• to initiate or strengthen scientific and technological French-American partnerships by organizing expert visits and scientific meetings,
• to promote exchanges of students and researchers through various specific funding programs: Chateaubriand Program, Thomas Jefferson Fund, bilateral funds with prestigious American educational and research institutions (Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Texas in Austin),
• to support innovation resulting from academic research by accompanying young French start-ups in their discovery of the American ecosystem and, conversely, by promoting France’s attractiveness to young innovative American companies.
Under the supervision of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (in particular the Direction de la culture, de l’enseignement, de la recherche et du réseau), the OST also maintains close ties to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. It works in liaison with all the actors of research in France and acts in cooperation with the other departments of the Embassy (cultural department, economic department, social affairs department…), which allows the social and economic implications of today’s science and technology to be taken into account.
Finally, the OST works closely with representatives of CNRS, INSERM, CNES, CEA and INRAE who are present at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. and which makes up the “Mission pour la science et la technologie”.