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1 Major Science and Technology- Related Issues and Opportunities for the Next Administration 33 rd Annual AAAS S&T Policy Forum Washington, DC, 9 May,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Major Science and Technology- Related Issues and Opportunities for the Next Administration 33 rd Annual AAAS S&T Policy Forum Washington, DC, 9 May,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Major Science and Technology- Related Issues and Opportunities for the Next Administration 33 rd Annual AAAS S&T Policy Forum Washington, DC, 9 May, 2008 Gilbert S. Omenn University of Michigan

2 2 The Economy and the Budget at the Previous Presidential Transition in 2001 A remarkable bipartisan success had produced a robust economy with a $550 billion annual surplus---a time for big decisions about meeting the needs of our nation for a generation. For research investments, there was bipartisan commitment to complete doubling of the NIH budget and initiate doubling of the NSF budget.

3 3 The New Millennium Started with the Human Genome Sequence (Feb 2001 )

4 4 The Terrorist Attacks on 9-11 Altered Everyones Agenda There is huge unfinished business on a risk-based comprehensive homeland security program and on preparedness for all kinds of terrorism, as well as natural disasters and emerging infections. There is an important technology and science base for counter-terrorism, as outlined in 2002 by the Academies in Making the Nation Safer.

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6 6 Drivers of the Federal Budget 5 Years Later (Policy Forum, 2006) Huge expenditures for the War on Terrorism and homeland security Deep tax cuts, with long-term pending Decision to go to war in Iraq---with huge budget consequences and oil at $72/bbl Huge projected commitments for an aging population, especially Medicare Same drivers nowonly more intense.

7 7 The Next President Must Re-order the Priorities of the Nation 1.Address long-deferred needs in energy, global environment, the economy, the workforce, education, health, and infrastructure. 2.Create fresh strategic plans for defense, space, homeland security, and intelligence. 3.Repair/revive international relationships. 4.Make clear the critical contributions from S&T to our Nations future and strengthen the base for research and innovation and policy advice..

8 8 Our Nations Energy Future Project Independence, December 1973 Priorities, in order: 1.Create technologies for much more efficient combustion of fuels 2.Enhance recovery from existing oil fields 3.Create clean coal technologies 4.Improve efficiency and safety of nuclear fission reactor operations and waste management 5.Accelerate development of long-term sources-- solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear fusion

9 9 Key Energy Challenges--2009 Engage the public and create numerous community-based jobs for energy efficiency and energy conservation Accelerate use of renewables Defer new coal-fired plants unless equipped with carbon capture/storage Influence other energy-hungry countries to take similar actions Sustain, efficiently and safely, the aging nuclear power reactor segment of our energy supply Make our country more secure by reversing our extreme dependence on foreign oil

10 10 NAS/COSEPUP Report on Mitigating Global Climate Change (1991) Decreasing use of fossil fuels will address three major national challenges at once: Reducing carbon emissions to slow the increase in greenhouse gases Reducing pollutants to improve air quality Reducing dependence on foreign oil to improve national security and the economy

11 11 Global Climate Change in 2008 The IPCC conclusions have become definitive. The U.S. has squandered international leadership for a decade. All three candidates are committed to action. Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 at 500 ppm would be possible if global emissions from fossil-fuel combustion in 2050 could be cut in half from the mid-range business-as-usual estimate of 14 billion metric tons of carbon in CO2 per year. The next President will have an ideal window for a bold call to action.

12 12 Example of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering for Sustainability (NAS) Green chemistry, replacing solvents, improving catalysts Life cycle analysis tools and models Toxicologic characterization of all chemical inputs and outputs Renewable chemical feedstocks from biomass Renewable fuel sources More efficient chemical processing Separation, sequestration, and utilization of CO2 Science literacy at all levels

13 13 U.N. Millennium Development Goals (2001) People-centered, time-bound, measurable goals for peace, security, development, human rights and fundamental freedoms (1990 to 2015): 1. Eradicate extreme poverty (<$1/day; 1 billion people) and hunger--by 50% 2.Achieve universal primary education for boys and girls 3.Promote gender equality and empower women 4.Reduce child mortality rate before age 5 by 67% 5.Improve maternal health--reduce mortality ratio by 75% 6.Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases---begin to reverse incidence and spread 7.Ensure environmental sustainabiity--50% reduction in those without safe drinking water 8. Develop a global partnership for development

14 14 A Comment on National Security and Homeland Security The two White House Councils should be candidates for consolidation. The science, technology, and education base, including behavioral research and regional studies, should be re-invigorated. The energy, environmental, food and water, immigration, and North-South dimensions of national security deserve special emphasis. The consequences of big shifts of resources for high performance computing (DARPA) and biomedical research (NIH) should be assessed.

15 15 Bring Innovation and Investment to Economic Competitiveness Innovation historically has accounted for 30-50% of economic growth and surely will be the engine of growth in the future, globally. The U.S. needs well-prepared graduates at all levels from all population groups to fill numerous jobs in a knowledge-based economy and in global networks of mid-sized firms (Branscomb). Our investment in R&D for innovation and in education and training of the workforce should be boosted with funding of the America Competes Act passed by Congress.

16 16 RISING ABOVE THE GATHERING THE GATHERING STORM : STORM : Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future EXECUTIVE SUMMARY NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING, AND INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

17 17 America Competes Act Double the funding for physical sciences research at NSF, DOE/OS, and NIST over 10 years---get back on schedule and create E- ARPA at DOE. Provide major support for STEM education and teacher training. Renew and make permanent the R&D tax credit for companies. Ease access for foreign students, visitors, and residents.

18 18 Health and HealthCare Research The widely-accepted agenda of quality enhancement, health IT infrastructure, cost containment, disease prevention, and universal insurance needs comprehensive research. Basic, clinical, and population research is critical for generating high-quality, cost-effective medical and public health services for diagnosis, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation. 25-30% of >$2 trillion/yr of health expenditures go for chasing symptoms of common diseases without touching the underlying disease process. After treading water for 5 years, it is time to increase biomedical research funding at NIH.

19 19 Transition Team Imperatives During the General Election Campaign (summer-fall) President needs an excellent team to propose and mobilize his call to action on critical issues. Take inspiration from Abshires book A Call to Greatness: Challenging our Next President. An experienced, diverse group should identify and recommend candidates for the Presidents Assistant for S&T position, to be selected & announced at the same time as other Assistants to the President. Well-vetted lists of candidates for the top-20 and top-50 S&T positions should be prepared for nomination to the Senate at the same time as Cabinet and agency heads..

20 20 2009 Must Be A Break-Out Year Not a time for treading water, following the polls, or muddling-through about the great challenges facing the country. The New President hopefully will have brought the American people a positive vision for our country, with a commitment to restoring our moral, intellectual, diplo- matic, and economic leadership in the world.

21 21 Potential Specific Actions in January Get Presidential appointees confirmed early. Submit selected revisions to the FY09 Budget, --components of the America Competes Act --a high-visibility international project (ITER) --specific steps to reduce carbon emissions and stabilize CO2 levels Redirect NASA from preparation for Mars manned visits to stronger science and environmental sensing programs. Remove constraints on funding for human stem cell research and propose needed regulation.

22 22 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) A strong OSTP is an asset to the President and the Administration, helping to define priorities. OSTP, through the National Science and Technology Council, should play a critical role in interagency coordination and cooperation. OSTP has been a key partner for OMB and NSC That role can be broadened within the EOP.

23 23 Priorities for the New Administration 1.Address long-deferred needs in energy, global environment, the economy, the workforce, education, health, and infrastructure. 2.Create fresh strategic plans for defense, space, homeland security, and intelligence. 3.Repair/revive international relationships. 4.Make clear the critical contributions from S&T to our Nations future and strengthen the base for research and innovation and policy advice.


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