science policy

The Scientific Activist

Category archives for science policy

We Need to Bring Back the OTA

In discussions lamenting modern day political interference in science and the less-than-prominent role science plays in formulating policy, bringing back the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) is commonly offered as a key facet of any comprehensive solution. And, this is for good reason, as Gerald L. Epstein explains in a new article at Science…

Today was a great day for science in the Executive Branch. Firstly, President Barack Obama (finally!) lifted George W. Bush’s August 2001 restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research in an executive order entitled “Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells“: The purpose of this order is to remove…

Last Friday the British Minister of Science, Paul Drayson, visited the science area of Oxford University to give a short speech and take questions. The audience was a fairly random assortment of a couple of hundred academics and students, mostly from the sciences. I was invited to fill one of ten graduate student slots granted…

Clearly, I owe my readers some true post-election analysis–something that has been slowed down by the insanely busy schedule I’ve been keeping in the lab and the totally overwhelming implications of the fantastic and historic recent election of Barack Obama. In the meantime, though, I’d like to point out a particularly insidious aspect of the…

Obama Endorsed by 61 Nobel Laureates

Yesterday, the Obama campaign released a letter of endorsement signed by 61 Nobel Laureates (click here for a nicer looking pdf). Michael Stebbins of Scientists and Engineers for America points out that “this is the largest number of Nobel Laureates to ever endorse a candidate for office.” And, why should we be surprised? Obama’s answers…

Earlier today, Elias Zerhouni–who has been the director of the NIH since 2002–announced that he will resign at the end of this October. According to the NIH press release, he is stepping down “to pursue writing projects and explore other professional opportunities.” The Hill has more from Zerhouni about his resignation: “I felt it would…

Obama on Science and Technology

On Saturday, ScienceDebate 2008 and Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA) announced that Barack Obama answered a fourteen-part questionnaire that they put together along with several other scientifically oriented organizations. Major props to ScienceDebate, SEA, and these other organizations for making this happen and to Barack Obama for thoroughly answering these fourteen questions. I’d encourage…

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), which is responsible for higher education in the UK, is seeking feedback to help it develop its new science strategy. The DIUS has put together a website for this purpose: interactive.dius.gov.uk/scienceandsociety/. There, you can read its latest report, comment on various sections of the report, or provide…

Yesterday, I blogged about a recent article correlating a nation’s research output related to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) with its policies on hESC research. There was one particular source of uncertainty, though: As Levine points out, he didn’t actually count papers that published results on hESCs, but papers that cited the original hESC paper.…

The conclusion stated in the title of this post may seem painfully obvious, but a new study published in Cell Stem Cell by Aaron Levine (assistant professor at Georgia Tech and author of Cloning: A Beginner’s Guide) backs it up with some hard data. To come to this conclusion, Levine compared a country’s output of…