Kastner (who?): Advice to a New President (Obama who else?)
April 7, 2009
Kastner describes four areas “in order of increasing difficulty” the new president must address: (We pick two of his four recommendations)
- The president’s first move should be to increase the prestige of science in government, by giving the science advisor a more important role, listening carefully to career scientists in government agencies, and encouraging rather than punishing them for speaking out.
- The final and perhaps toughest job involves stabilizing science funding. Over the past 20 years, math, physical science and engineering funding have remained flat. In the life sciences it doubled (partly due to 9/11), then declined. While “it’s wonderful to give more money to science,” rapid increases over short times have often been followed by sharp dips, creating major research disruptions. Plus, says Kastner, it’s unhealthy to fund one area and not the rest. “Different sciences reinforce each other and the scientific enterprise cannot do well if only one field is supported and the others are not.”