AAAS CEO Comments on the U.S. Presidential Election Outcome

AAAS CEO Rush Holt calls on President-elect Donald Trump to appoint top science adviser to advance science and drive innovation. | steheap/Adobe Stock

The 45th president of the United States will confront a broad range of global challenges, from addressing climate change and securing our energy future to sustaining investments in scientific research efforts in numerous areas, including medicine.

“President-elect Donald Trump must be prepared to advance science, technology and education to drive economic progress, innovation and jobs and to improve people’s lives,” said Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

“The nation’s incoming president will need to move quickly to appoint a respected scientist or engineer to serve as the next science adviser, to ensure immediate input related to science and technology,” Holt added, reinforcing the recommendations laid out in a September 2016 report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“The next science adviser will need to be integrated at the earliest possible stage into the administration’s decision-making process,” Holt said, “not just on topics with an obvious science connection such as infectious-disease response, but on matters concerning diplomacy, cyber-security, agriculture and advanced manufacturing as well as resilient infrastructure, which also relate to science and technology.”

As the next U.S. president prepares to take office, Holt added, “It will be imperative for Congress to work on funding the government for fiscal year 2017 beyond the current continuing resolution.” That will require the completion of the strong, bipartisan work already achieved in both chambers to develop and move appropriations bills through their respective committees, he noted.

“The suite of bills already passed would increase federal research & development (R&D) funding by an estimated 2.1% above fiscal year 2016 levels in the House and 3.2% above fiscal year 2016 levels in the Senate, slightly above the rate of inflation,” Holt noted. “This real growth in federal investment in R&D is crucial fuel for the innovation engines that grow our economy, enhance our safety and security and expand human knowledge.”

Swift action by Congress would allow the new president to move rapidly on a budget request next year, he said, whereas “further delays would inhibit the scientific and technological innovation that helps to drive the U.S. economy.”

“We stand ready to work with the president-elect’s administration and Republican as well as Democratic policymakers in a bipartisan fashion to harness the power of science and technology in service of society,” Holt said.

[Associated image credit: steheap/Adobe Stock]