Funding for the Science Adviser
Monday, May 10, 2021
To the Editor:
“Is an Adviser Necessary to Help Elevate Science?” (Science Times, May 4) reported concerns that elevating the science adviser to the cabinet level could be “more symbolic than substantive.” For the sake of the country’s response to societal challenges, and its economic future and national security, let’s make sure that it’s substantive.
To get there, we need to support the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which the science adviser leads, beyond its pre-cabinet budget of $5.5 million a year. By comparison, other cabinet officials control billions.
The science adviser needs financial resources commensurate with the scale of the science and technology challenges the country must address, from ending the pandemic and preventing future ones, to curbing climate disruption, ensuring food and water security, and creating novel ways to produce and store energy.
Congress should appropriate funding for cross-agency projects that enable the cross-disciplinary approaches that are needed. Coordination and collaboration are essential for delivering science and technology solutions to some of our most vexing dilemmas.
Keith R. Yamamoto
The writers are co-chairs of the Science & Technology Action Committee.