White House announces funding to tech, science projects ahead of conference

White House announces funding to tech, science projects ahead of conference
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The White House on Thursday announced millions of dollars in commitments to tech and science-related initiatives.

The announcement comes on the same day as a tech conference being hosted by the White House in Pittsburgh. In total, the administration said the value of the funds — from public and private sources — amounted to more than $300 million.

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The Department of Transportation, for example, will commit $65 million in grants “to deploy smart city technologies in communities across the country.” The money will go to San Francisco; Los Angeles; Denver; Houston; Marysville, Ohio; and Pittsburgh.

Some of the funds will also go to health research, with $70 million being committed by the National Institutes of Health to “help researchers better understand the brain and, ultimately, uncover the mysteries that hold the key to future scientific breakthroughs in areas such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, depression, and traumatic brain injury.” The administration also announced a growth of its initiative focused on precision medicine.

Other efforts announced by the White House will focus on space, including $50 million directed at developing “a revolution in small-satellite technology.”

President Obama has been working to cement his legacy on technology, and his administration has been behind moves to bring top tech talent into government and weighed in on major debates like net neutrality.

And Obama has expressed his own affinity for the tech industry.

“Well, you know, it’s hard to say,” he told Bloomberg News this year when asked what industries he might join after leaving office. “But what I will say is that — just to bring things full circle about innovation — the conversations I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying.”