This week, Vice President Biden presented an implementation plan for the administration's Cancer Moonshot Initiative and advocated for a culture shift toward more team-oriented, interdisciplinary research that leverages shared datasets and draws on expertise from a broader range of federal agencies, including the Department of Energy.
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has advanced a NASA authorization bill that focuses on space exploration and seeks to ensure stability at the space agency through the upcoming presidential transition. Unlike the House-passed NASA authorization bill, the Senate bill has only a few provisions specific to NASA’s science divisions.
As Barack Obama’s presidency draws to a close, his administration is continuing to improve the nation’s apparatuses for assessing and responding to climate change impacts. Recent actions to deepen the connection between climate research and planning include initiating a sustained National Climate Assessment, creating a new public-private climate data sharing partnership, and instructing the government to incorporate climate threats into national security planning.
In a new report, Neal Lane, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is calling on the next president to put a “laser focus” on science and technology early on in the next administration. The report makes five recommendations for the next president and five more for the president’s next science advisor on how S&T policy should be dealt with in the White House.
President Obama will host a White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh in October and guest-edit the November edition of WIRED magazine, both focusing on the president’s five “frontiers of innovation.”
In Part 2 of its report on research regulations, a National Academies committee reiterates its call for Congress to create a Research Policy Board and urges the administration to not revise human subjects research regulations until a new national commission weighs in on the subject. Congress has begun to act on the Research Policy Board recommendation.
Yesterday the White House threatened to veto the House defense appropriations bill and the Senate CJS appropriations bill that funds four federal science agencies. The chambers are actively considering both bills on their respective floors this week, but White House opposition and partisan controversies connected to the bills threaten to derail them.
Last month the U.S. signed an ambitious but non-binding global climate change agreement which Secretary of State John Kerry and other international leaders negotiated under the auspices of the U.N. in Paris last December. The deal leans on the “best available science” as a guidepost for nations’ future greenhouse gas emissions reductions.