What are the most important things the next U.S. president needs to do for science? To cut through the jargon and find an answer, we bring you the DISCOVER Science Policy Project, in which we give a group of the country’s most celebrated scientists and thinkers the chance to respond to the following question:
What are the three most important things the next president can do to positively impact scientific research in the United States?
In the November issue of DISCOVER, we compile and analyze the results. In the meantime, we will be posting each response in its entirety here on Reality Base. Today’s entry is by renowned science writer Chris Mooney. Feel free to offer your own ideas and analysis in the comments section. All past responses can be found here.
Overturn George W. Bush’s stem cell policy. After eight years of controversy, multiple presidential vetoes, the proliferation of state-level funding initiatives, and all the rest, it’s finally time to fund research on new embryonic stem cell lines.
Appoint, in a timely fashion, a distinguished presidential science adviser. Throughout the Bush administration, science adviser John Marburger was a lightning rod—appointed late, to a demoted post, he then had to defend the administration again and again on charges of misuse of science.
Launch a Massive Energy Research Initiative. We need an Apollo project for energy research, a dramatic government project to find the new, renewable technologies that will save our economy and ultimately our planet. In the process, we can turn American scientists into heroes again, just as they were in the days after Sputnik.