Paul Ryan's Science Report

The presumed vice-presidential candidate gets a mixed review on science funding and attitudes.

Hayley Dunning
Aug 20, 2012

Although Paul Ryan has expressed strong support for government spending on basic science research, critics are concerned that a 10-year budget roadmap he authored "would substantially slow future spending on fundamental studies," according to ScienceInsider.

Ryan has also been vocal in his support of increasing funding for biomedical research, stating in a speech on the House floor in 2000 that "One of the most important and proper roles of the Federal Government is in the funding of basic research, basic research to improve the health and welfare of our people." However, he has not been a strong supporter embryonic stem cell research, repeatedly voting in favor of banning federal funding for this kind of research.

In the energy sector, Ryan supports the idea of reliable renewable energy sources, but thinks federal funding is not the way to go, repeatedly arguing that government should not "pick winners and losers."...

Ryan questions the reliability of climate science, and in 2011 he opposed an amendment recognizing "that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare." Beyond the scientific questions, Ryan also has a history of opposing legislative action on climate change, voting against the cap-and-trade initiative in 2009, saying "This bill is not about science, it's not about costs and benefits; it's about ideology."

While ScienceInsider points out Ryan's "views on science and technology issues aren't likely to play a significant role in November’s election," the blog also states that it's unclear just how much he'd use his position to weigh in on science and technology funding and policy issues if he made it to the White House.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?