Obama, Romney answer questions about science policy
With the U.S. economy struggling to gain steam and tensions flaring in the Middle East, discussion of science policy has taken a back seat in the presidential campaign. But a group of voters concerned about the state of American science has solicited the opinions of both candidates on a variety of issues related to research, technology, energy, and the environment.
ScienceDebate.org—an effort supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academies, and the Council on Competitiveness, among others—compiled a list of 14 questions and posed them to President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Responses from both campaigns have been posted online.
Excerpts are printed below. The candidates’ complete replies are online at http://www.sciencedebate2012.com.
Science and technology have been responsible for over half of the growth of the U.S. economy since World War II. What policies will best ensure that America remains a world leader in innovation?
Obama: We must create an environment where invention, innovation, and industry can flourish. I am committed to doubling funding for key research agencies to support scientists and entrepreneurs. I have set the goal of preparing 100,000 science and math teachers over the next decade. These teachers will meet the urgent need to train 1 million additional science, technology, engineering, and math graduates over the next decade.
Romney: We must reform America’s legal immigration system to attract and retain the best and the brightest. I will raise visa caps for highly skilled foreign workers, offer permanent residence to foreign students graduating with advanced degrees in relevant fields, and restructure government retraining programs to empower individual workers and welcome private-sector participation.
We must never forget that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. As president, I will focus government resources on research programs that advance the development of knowledge, and on technologies with widespread application and potential to serve as the foundation for private-sector innovation and commercialization.