WASHINGTON—To some scientists the title will sound impressive; to others, it will be simply obscure: associate director for natural resources, energy, and science at the Office of Management and Budget. But scientists ought to know who carries this portfolio, because the person in that office has the potential to relax or squeeze important parts of the federal research budget for science.

The current occupant is R6bert Grady. a newly appointed (see story, page 1) political scientist and exspeechwriter, who will be expected to manage that slice of the budget that includes most of the government’s nonmedical, civilian spending on science. Three other program associate directors (known collectively as PADs) have responsibility for the rest of the federal government, including NIH and the Department of Defense.

Grady has no technical qualifications for grappling with such issues as the disposal of nuclear wastes the space station, or the superconducting supercollider, three of...

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