2016 Presidential Candidates’ Science Policy Platforms

Over the last year and a half, presidential candidates have provided hints as to what their science policy priorities would be if they were to win.

Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released details of her “Initiative on Technology and Innovation”, which includes commitments to grow the budget of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the research budgets at the Department of Energy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While Secretary Clinton’s published positions related to science primarily focus on computer science and technology, in response to a questionnaire from the Scientific American, Secretary Clinton expanded her position on basic research, saying “I believe it is essential that we strengthen our research capacity, by funding talented young investigators, looking for ways to prioritize ‘high-risk, high-reward’ projects that have the potential to transform entire fields.”

Businessman and Republican nominee Donald Trump has not published any specific policy recommendations related to science, but included in his answer to the Scientific American questionnaire that scientific advances, including a viable space program, require long-term investment and stakeholder input. Other public statements, including about the National Institutes Health, have been less flattering.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson also provided responses to the Scientific American. Stein believes that most government-supported scientific efforts should be related to combating climate change. Alternatively, Johnson believes that the government should focus on funding basic research rather than advanced or applied research.

More analysis can be found in the Scientific American and Science Magazine.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 1), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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