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Social sciences/Economics/Macroeconomics/Market economics

by Bert Richard Johannes Bolin

The author is the former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the recipient of the 1998 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award. This speech was delivered at the CAIP Annual Luncheon Meeting on February 15th during the 1998 AAAS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA

The patent system does not promote innovation and should be scaled back drastically, an economist argued at the recent AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. He was immediately challenged in a lively debate by two long-time patent specialists who defended the system.

American preeminence in science and technology has become a very useful diplomatic tool for the United States, opening doors to nations regardless of their culture or politics, E. William Colglazier, the science and technology adviser to the Secretary of State, told a recent AAAS gathering.

Amid concerns about U.S. innovation and jobs, a new prize—being launched by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in concert with AAAS—will recognize successful university-based commercialization activities.

Project 2061 thinks that “green” school buildings, stocked with recycling bins and smart thermostats, might also contain raw materials for a new science and math curriculum for their students.

The United States needs to take steps quickly to remain competitive in the global economy, Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering, warned in a lecture at the annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy.“A national nightmare could be unfolding,” Vest said during the annual William D. Carey Lecture on 5 May. “It doesn’t have to happen. It is the 11th hour, however, but this nightmare still need not materialize. Indeed, I actually don’t believe it will materialize. But we must get started now on a strategic agenda for the long haul.”

The American science enterprise may be facing its most significant challenges in a generation, with a new Congress possibly moving to cut research spending and open investigations into the federal stimulus program and the science of climate change, speakers said in a series of presentations at AAAS.

Ask Romain Murenzi about the role of science to Rwanda’s emerging economic strength, and he will talk to you about his home nation’s coffee.

Ten or 15 years ago, most of Rwanda’s beans were of a low grade and there wasn’t much of a market for them. Today, the bushes grow on beautiful terraced hillsides, and the roasted beans are sold in Starbucks, Costco and other locations in North America and Europe. In an interview, Murenzi credited science—or, more exactly, the importance of botany, the technology of bean preparation, and marketing, all supported by government policy.

[AAAS Senior Scholar Romain Murenzi, formerly Rwanda's minister of Science, Technology and Scientific Research, delivered this commencement address 19 December 2009 to the first graduating class at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria. Murenzi is also a visiting professor at the University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies.]