What are the three 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 state their views. All past responses can be found here.
Restore the independent scientific panels that used to advise Congress on scientific and technological matters.
Going much further, let each member of Congress select one scientifically or technologically qualified person, to serve both as an adviser and as his or her representative on a “shadow scientific Congress” to thrash out complex matters of fact—so that Congress itself can concentrate on policy solutions.
While pushing for better science education and more research funding, don’t forget the rising trend of the twenty-first century—amateur science. More and more fields of professional research have found use for part-timers, who are sometimes knowledgeable, skilled and surprisingly well equipped. This trend will advance with or without encouragement from government or academe. Some investment should be given to endeavors like the Society of Amateur Scientists.
Develop trust building tools…methods for assessing risk and reducing unpleasant consequences, so that we again become a people willing to take on big and daring projects.