SCIENCE AND POLITICS: In the run-up to Tuesday's election, the views of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on S&T issues were highlighted in various formats. Representatives from the campaigns of President George Bush and Senator John Kerry, speaking at an AAAS forum, commented on the involvement of scientists in the political process.
FINAL OCEAN REPORT: Urgency was the key message at a September 21 Senate hearing on reform of the nation's ocean and coastal policies. Admiral James Watkins, discussing the final report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, emphasized "the need to act now, while it is still possible to reverse the distressing declines." Upon receiving the final report, President Bush issued a statement commending the commission for its work and saying his Administration "looks forward to building on these initiatives."
FOREIGN STUDENTS: How do international graduate students and postdocs benefit the U.S., and do they have an impact on the educational choices made by U.S. students? A panel of the National Academies is exploring this topic. At an October 11-12 meeting, the committee heard about increasing recruitment of international students by other countries, and received an update on progress made by the State Department in improving the visa application process for foreign students.
STATISTICS FROM NSF: The National Science Foundation has a mandate to serve as a clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on the science and engineering enterprise. An NSF InfoBrief released in July finds that total federal obligations for R&D and R&D plant have increased steadily for most of the past decade, to approximately $105.2 billion in FY04. Just over half (51%) of this amount is for research, and just under half (45%) is for development. A September InfoBrief on the Administration's proposed R&D budget for FY05 shows that defense R&D would climb to 58.4% of total federal R&D budget authority. An NSF report on gender differences finds that women scientists and engineers working full-time in academia with 8-9 years of postdoc experience are 6.9% less likely than men to be tenured. It also finds "indirect evidence suggesting that women who do not have children early in their careers increase their chances for earning tenure."
ADMINISTRATION VIEWS ON R&D: In a document that will be relevant as President Bush heads into his second term, this summer the cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council released a review of the Administration's perspectives, responsibilities, and implementation of policies relating to the federal R&D enterprise.