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.
Former executive director of the MIT Media Lab
Promote more risk-taking within government funding agencies: Industry has all but given up on research of any kind except marketing research, and for the most part, universities are slipping into a mode of incrementalism, because that is the safest way to secure funding.
Specifically, I’d increase the discretionary programs 1,000 fold. As with any enterprise, the government (management) should set clear goals, but the means to achieve those goals should be left to the “intelligence in the leaves.”