- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Chu Wants DOE to Pick Up the Pace
1 May 2009 3:51 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Speaking today before a friendly audience of science policy wonks, Energy Secretary Steven Chu railed against the conservative culture of the agency he runs and described his struggles to meet its mission of helping the country move to a less carbon-intensive economy. "Newton didn't get it quite right," Chu told the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. "A body in motion tends to stop the next day if pressure is not continually applied."
Describing the sprawling Department of Energy as a place in which "everyone is afraid of making a mistake," Chu regaled the luncheon audience with examples of how his reforms have encountered stiff opposition. He described a "cottage industry" that had sprung up around a DOE loan program in which consultants were charging $225,000 to help prepare an application because applicants weren't getting any help from DOE. After he suggested that "we help people by responding to their questions," Chu says, he was told that such assistance would be improper because it might put other applicants at a disadvantage. His reply was that "there are two ways to be fair. You can help no one, or you can help everyone. And then I said, consider the alternative." Told that the applications were running up to 1000 pages, he added dryly, "I think a 50-page limit is reasonable."
Chu also appealed for help from the audience. He said that DOE will need 300 to 400 reviewers in the next 6 months to handle the expected flood of grant applications triggered by DOE's share of the $787 billion stimulus package and the hike in its annual budget for 2009. "In my first week on the job, I asked for a list of reviewers in [programs that fund] photovoltaics and batteries, which are fields that I know something about. I hadn't heard of any of them. And that was a little bit frightening to me." He asked scientists to volunteer their time so that he could meet his goal of having "the very best reviewers in the country."