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Science Advisor to President Speaks to
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows
John H. Marburger III, science advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush and director of the Office of Science and Technology, spoke last week to AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows about the Bush Administration's overall policy in science and technology and the key issues facing his office.
Marburger views the primary priorities in federal science policy to be national security, homeland security, and economic vitality.
The ultimate science policy decisions are those involving what money goes where to fund different programs, Margburger noted. Starting from the basic principle that discovery is good, he said, the government will tend to sponsor long-lead time, high-risk science endeavors that are not supported by industry and that can lead to break-throughs in science.
Regarding ethical concerns, such as those surrounding security and cloning, Marburger said, "There really is not a conflict between science and ethics. Science tells you what you can do, not what you should do."
He described how important communicating with the science community at large is. "We reach out directly to organizations like AAAS to hear how things are going, and to get information out to scientists." Marburger said. "We want to know from them what we should be doing to focus federal investments on their needs."
Before his appointment in the Executive Office of the President, Marbuger served as director of Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1998 to 2001, and served at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1980 to 1998, both on the faculty and as university president.
5 February 2003