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Obama good for science, experts say

Science groups are welcoming Senator linkurl:Barack Obama's;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ landslide victory as the 44th President of the United States. Throughout his campaign, Obama made several promises regarding American science, including linkurl:doubling the budgets;http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/FactSheetScience.pdf of key research agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy's Offi

By | November 5, 2008

Science groups are welcoming Senator linkurl:Barack Obama's;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ landslide victory as the 44th President of the United States. Throughout his campaign, Obama made several promises regarding American science, including linkurl:doubling the budgets;http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/FactSheetScience.pdf of key research agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy's Office of Science, over a decade. "We're looking forward to working with Obama as well as the Congress to make these promises come true," linkurl:Richard Marchase,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/54829/ president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), told __The Scientist__. But what actions must Obama undertake to buoy US science? "We would like to see a cabinet-level science advisor," linkurl:Stacie Propst,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55137/ vice president of policy and outreach at science advocacy group Research!America, told __The Scientist__. Though outgoing President George W. Bush linkurl:relegated his science advisor to a somewhat diminished role,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54983/ Propst said that Obama is likely to restore the role to real prominence. "We are confident that President-elect Obama will have a science advisor who is highly engaged in decision-making and policy-making." Marchase, agreed. He told __The Scientist__ that appointing a strong science advisor will get "the theme that science matters off to a good start in this administration." "We are looking forward to science becoming an important part of a wide variety of policy decisions," Marchase continued. Obama also needs to focus on fulfilling his pledge to increase funding for federal science agencies, Marchase said. To accomplish his goal of doubling the budgets of science agencies in ten years, Obama must increase spending at these agencies by seven or eight percent per year, according to Marchase. "We certainly are very much expecting the increase for the linkurl:NIH;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53858/ budget to be closer to 10% than 5% [per year]," Marchase said. Marchase also said that he is confident that Obama's appreciation of science will change science policy in positive ways. Policy concerning linkurl:global climate change,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54049/ environmental issues, and linkurl:embryonic stem cell;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12948/ research, are likely to improve in an Obama administration, Marchase said. "There's clearly a commitment to encouraging embryonic stem cell research," he said. "We expect that will be a policy change." Propst also said that Obama is likely to encourage a more healthy respect for science; a sentiment that withered within the Bush administration. "We're happy to get out of this era of blocking science for ideological reasons," she said. "We want to get the investment [in science] restarted so we can innovate our way out of a very sick healthcare system." __Correction (posted November 5): When originally posted, this article omitted the affiliation of Stacie Propst. __The Scientist__ regrets the error.
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Comments

Avatar of: Bradley Andresen

Bradley Andresen

Posts: 34

November 5, 2008

I am very pleased that Obama won the election, but before we talk about the NIH and NSF budget we need to realize that there will be fiscal constraints for about 2 years due to the current recession. Yes, I am using the dreaded R-word. One cannot reasonably expect science funding to increase in the face of a recession at 8 to 10% per year. I want, and my career may hinge on, increased funding to the NIH, but there are many priorities that need to be addressed; reigning in our finical situation (both the Wall St. mess and our dept/deficit) is a paramount priority and may place a hold on the increases in science funding. On the other hand, even with no increases in funding, a change in attitude would be very beneficial in and of itself.
Avatar of: M Pamela Bumsted

M Pamela Bumsted

Posts: 1

November 5, 2008

It will be terrific if the thought process comes back to government and science. [too bad it is too big a change to get the S back into LANL Los Alamos Science/National Laboratory]. We need analytical anthropology, too.\n\nUrgently needed is an approach that involves communities as equal colleagues in basic and applied science and policy, especially for the Villages of Alaska, rural communities and tribes in New Mexico, and small island developing states everywhere. Environmental change [with concomitant biocultural change good, bad, and disastrous] will continue regardless of political change.
Avatar of: Bob Hong

Bob Hong

Posts: 125

November 6, 2008

Promises are one thing, but deliveries are another. We need to always take politicians' promises with a grain of salt, based on the track records of their campaign promises.
Avatar of: Vinod Nikhra

Vinod Nikhra

Posts: 48

November 9, 2008

Many recent articles in newspapers, tabloids and webposts can easily dubbed as ?Expectations from Obama?. Man, he has aroused so many expectations from us! There is so much to be done in so many spheres. But having so much expectations is not fair. In the difficult times we live now, we are trying hard to find a Savior. Is this the result of our abounding helplessness? What, if Obama is not our savior?

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