Dr. White is a member of Icarus Interstellar, "a nonprofit foundation dedicated to achieving interstellar flight by 2100":
Dr. White holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Rice University, a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University, and a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of South Alabama. Dr. White has accumulated over 15 years of experience working in the aerospace industry with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and NASA. He currently serves as the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate and is the JSC representative to the Nuclear Systems Working Group. In his role, Dr. White is serving to help the Agency incorporate high TRL advanced power and propulsion technologies into near and mid-term human exploration architectures. He is also pursuing theoretical and laboratory research on developing lower TRL advanced propulsion and power technologies in the advanced propulsion physics laboratory known as Eagleworks that is located at the Johnson Space Center. Over the past 15 years, Dr. White has worked with members of academia, industry, and government to further grow this area of research resulting in many published papers, presentations, development and study of physics models, engineering tools, and the implementation and execution of multiple high fidelity experimental efforts.
*TRL = Technology Readiness Level
According to this paper (PDF), the "Eagleworks" lab for "Advanced Propulsion Physics Research" has been created to
pursue propulsion technologies necessary to enable human exploration of the solar system over the next 50 years, and enabling interstellar spaceflight by the end of the century. This work directly supports the "Breakthrough Propulsion" objectives detailed in the NASA OCT TA02 In-space
Propulsion Roadmap, and aligns with the #10 Top Technical Challenge identified in the report".
In a paper titled "Warp Field Mechanics 101" (PDF), Dr.White explains the theoretical basis for the "White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer". The abstract reads as follows:
This paper will begin with a short review of the Alcubierre warp drive metric and describes how the phenomenon might work based on the original paper. The canonical form of the metric was developed and published in  which provided key insight into the field potential and boost for the field which remedied a critical paradox in the original Alcubierre concept of operations. A modified concept of operations based on the canonical form of the metric that remedies the paradox is presented and discussed. The idea of a warp drive in higher dimensional space-time (manifold) will then be briefly considered by comparing the null-like geodesics of the Alcubierre metric to the Chung-Freese metric to illustrate the mathematical role of hyperspace coordinates. The net effect of using a warp drive “technology” coupled with conventional propulsion systems on an exploration mission will be discussed using the nomenclature of early mission planning. Finally, an overview of the warp field interferometer test bed being implemented in the Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory: Eagleworks (APPL:E) at the
Johnson Space Center will be detailed. While warp field mechanics has not had a “Chicago Pile” moment, the tools necessary to detect a modest instance of the phenomenon are near at hand.
Lastly, the efforts of the Eagleworks labs are recognised in the July edition of a periodical titled Roundup (PDF) released by the Johnson Space Center:
“The math would allow you to go to Alpha Centauri in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth,” White said. “So somebody’s clock
onboard the spacecraft has the same rate of time as somebody in
mission control here in Houston might have. There are no tidal forces,
no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn
the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead,
(which) would be a very short and sad trip.”
When you think space warp, imagine raisins baking in bread.
“When you put dough in a pan
there’s little raisins in the bread. As you cook the bread, the bread
rises and those raisins move relative to one another,” White said.
“That’s the concept of inflation in a terrestrial perspective, except
in astrophysics it’s just the actual physical space itself that’s
So, yes, the research has official status and an entire laboratory has been formed for such initiatives at the Johnson Space Center.