President George W. Bush's hesitance in filling top positions in science and engineering has the scientific community concerned about how funding policies may change and whether decisions will be based on research or rhetoric. Top positions remain unfilled at the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Agriculture. Bush even boasts the record for tardiness in choosing a White House science adviser--on the 25th anniversary of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), over which the science adviser usually presides.

Bush has waited longer than any president, even former President Ronald Reagan (who named his adviser on May 19), to nominate a top-ranking science policy adviser, who could help him make key appointments in other departments. Bush supporters say the president has had quite a lot on his plate and that in the meantime, the staff of...

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