science

Senate restructures science, commerce subcommittees

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation announced a new structure for its subcommittees in the 117th Congress, bringing the total number from six to seven. The subcommittees are:

Battleground state voters show rising trust in science

Nearly half of voters within battleground states have a deep level of trust in scientists, according to a recent study conducted by Third Way. This represents a significant increase from the 21 percent of voters who held scientists in high esteem in 2016, and is in line with Pew Research Center’s earlier report that found 39 percent of U.S. adults trust science and believe scientists act in the public’s best interest.

AAAS says now is time to act to enhance Public Face of Science

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is calling on all organizations with an interest in the public face of science to “use the resources at their disposal to support effective science communication and engagement” as part of its third and final installment in a series of reports from an initiative that began in 2016. The Public Face of Science Initiative set out to address the complex and evolving relationship between science and society. Previous reports from the three-year project included public opinion polling on perceptions of science in America (2018) and how people experience science outside the classroom (2019). This final report identifies three high-level areas for change to help shape attitudes toward science and people’s experiences with it.

PCAST recommends bold actions to ensure American leadership in industries of the future

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is recommending a set of bold actions to help ensure continued American leadership in Industries of the Future (IotF), comprising artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), advanced manufacturing, advanced communications, and biotechnology. The three pillars underpinning these actions are: enhancing multi-sector engagement in research and innovation; creating a new institute structure that integrates one or more of the IotF areas and spans discovery research to product development; and ensuring the availability of a qualified, diverse IotF workforce.

White House executive orders impacting science

Two recent executive orders issued by the White House have met with mixed reactions. While one order intended to ease the regulatory process for certain biotech products was met with favor by some in that industry, another order that could eliminate at least one third of the current federal advisory committees that was issued just days later, was roundly criticized.

Benchmark report reveals threats to US science, tech leadership

While the U.S. continues to lead the world in science, technology and innovation, other nations are on track to catch and surpass the lead the country currently holds, according to a new report from the Task Force on American Innovation (TFIA). In Second Place America? Increasing Challenges to U.S. Scientific Leadership, TFIA, a non-partisan alliance of leading American companies and business associations, research university associations, and scientific societies, benchmarks the U.S. against other nations in R&D investment, knowledge production, education, workforce and high-tech sectors of the economy. The report holds that to maintain a global leadership status, which it calls critical to national security and future economic growth and prosperity, a renewed national commitment to invest in key federal science agencies such as NSF, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology is necessary.

Americans vision of the future bleak; science holds hope

A smattering of recent opinion polls and research papers looking to the future have revealed some grim perceptions about the economy and environment, but a more positive opinion of the role for science and technology (S&T) emerges.

Science and engineering fields not representative of US population

Women, persons with disabilities and some minority groups are underrepresented in science and engineering (S&E) when compared to the overall population, according to the latest data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). Although women have reached parity with men among S&E bachelor’s degree recipients — half of S&E bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women in 2016 — they are still underrepresented in S&E occupations. Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives have gradually increased their share of S&E degrees, but they remain underrepresented in S&E educational attainment and in the S&E workforce. By contrast, Asians are overrepresented among S&E degree recipients and among employed scientists and engineers.

Congressional elections may shake up federal science, innovation policy

Tuesday’s elections resulted in a Democratic majority in the House, but the changes for the next Congress go far beyond this outcome. Flipping party control means new chairs for every committee in the House; many Senate Republicans in leadership positions are reaching their party’s term limits, yielding new committee seniority; and, retirements and incumbent losses yield further changes. For the bipartisan issues of science and innovation, this shake up will produce new opportunities and uncertainties.

Creating tomorrow’s STEM leaders in AZ schools

Arizona schools are taking a different approach to developing the next generation of STEM workers and leaders with the Chief Science Officer position, now in 120 schools across the state. The students, from grades six to 12, are elected by their peers and participate in training events where they learn about STEM activities and careers and can advocate for STEM education in their schools. Throughout the year, the students work with industry professionals or community mentors to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Partners from a variety of organizations help support the training institutes for the students, and frequently host event at their sites or visit the schools. The program garnered the attention of former president Barack Obama and has sparked interest in other states and regions. The Arizona program is a collaborative initiative of Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona Technology Council Foundation.

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