APS News

Societies Urge President-Elect to Appoint a Science Advisor

CEOs, presidents, and executive directors of U.S. scientific societies ask for meeting to recommend candidates to assist White House.

December 1, 2016 | David Voss

On November 23, the leaders of 29 societies representing the U.S. science, technology, and education communities sent a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump urging him to appoint a respected science advisor. APS CEO Kate Kirby signed the letter on behalf of the American Physical Society.

In the letter, the societies called on the president-elect to quickly name an Assistant to the President for Science and Technology who is "a nationally respected leader with the appropriate engineering, scientific, management and policy skills necessary for this critically important role."

The letter comes amid concerns that the president-elect will demote, downsize, or abolish the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). James Carafano, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, and a member of Donald Trump’s transition team, has explicitly called for eliminating OSTP.

Writing in the context of "national and energy security, … ensuring U.S. economic competitiveness, curing diseases, and responding to natural disasters," the signers of the letter requested a meeting with the president-elect or members of his transition team "to discuss how the science and engineering community can assist with developing a path forward to ensure that the U.S. innovation infrastructure grows and flourishes under your administration and to suggest candidates for top science and technology posts."

The letter was signed by the heads of the following organizations:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science;
  • American Astronomical Society;
  • American Chemical Society;
  • American Geophysical Union;
  • American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering;
  • American Institute of Physics;
  • American Physical Society;
  • American Physiological Society;
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM);
  • American Society of Plant Biologists;
  • American Sociological Association;
  • Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS);
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME);
  • Association for Psychological Science;
  • Association of American Universities;
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities;
  • Coalition for Life Sciences;
  • Consortium for Ocean Leadership;
  • Consortium of Social Science Associations;
  • Council of Scientific Society Presidents;
  • Ecological Society of America;
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology;
  • Rescuing Biomedical Research;
  • Research!America;
  • SIGMA Xi, The Scientific Research Society;
  • SoAR Foundation;
  • Society for Neuroscience;
  • The American Society for Cell Biology; and
  • The Optical Society.

OSTP seal
Image: Wikimedia Commons