Set science priorities, says Rep. Brown


  • Lynn Teo Simarski


If scientists fail to set priorities for research spending, someone else will, said Rep. George Brown, Jr. (D.-Calif.) at a recent space policy symposium in Washington, D.C. Addressing one of his now-familiar themes—priority-setting—the chair of the House Space, Science, and Technology Committee called for apportioning research support based, above all, on scientific merit. Otherwise, “science funding may be increasingly decided by ‘political pork’ awarded to localities based on political rather than scientific goals,” he said.

At a January 24 forum of the National Academy of Sciences' Space Studies Board, Brown stressed that space science objectives must match the nation's overall “science and technology agenda.” Scientists and policy-makers should work together to advance “explicit social, economic, and political goals,” he said. However, “if Congress perceives that scientists view research funding as a right rather than an opportunity that comes with a responsibility, they cannot build mutual trust.”