What Would Einstein Do? Part XXI: David Hirsh

By Melissa Lafsky | October 21, 2008 11:36 am

What are the three most important things the next U.S. president needs to do for science? The DISCOVER Science Policy Project gave a group of the country’s most celebrated scientists and thinkers the chance to state their views. Today, renowned biotechnology innovator David Hirsh offers his advice for the coming administration. All past responses can be found here.

DAVID HIRSH
Executive Vice President for Research, Columbia University

First, there needs to be a redirection of funding to invest in fundamental discovery science—the applications will follow—especially in the areas of energy, “big physics,” the mind/brain and evolution.

Second, investment in people is essential. We need to offer better salaries and support for researchers, particularly in the early stages of their scientific careers. We also need to ease immigration restrictions to allow foreigners to resume coming to America for their science training.

Third, help cure the endemic science illiteracy in the U.S. by bolstering science education across the entire system—kindergarten through twelfth grade and beyond—and into the popular culture.

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