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The Sciences

All the President's Scientists

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyOctober 2, 2008 7:10 PM


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My latest Science Progress column just went up--it's about the series of reports the National Academies has done over the past eight years (see here, here, and here) to help facilitate presidential transitions with respect to science and technology appointments, and the interesting commonalities that these reports share. All the reports stress the need for a high level presidential science adviser who's appointed to his post early on (something the Bush administration of course failed to do). They all call for streamlining the appointments process and cutting down on red tape. And the most recent reports call for making sure scientific advisory committees don't get politicized. All of which is fairly standard at this point--but what I find interesting is the increasing emphasis, in the most recent reports, upon scientific service: In short, the need for scientific societies to recommend researchers to serve in government and create more fellowships preparing them for such interactions. Scientists, says the 2008 NAS report, "have much to give back. Government service is an excellent means by which to repay that debt." You can read the full column here.

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