2009 will be the year of science--at least if you believe an alliance of 500 scientific organizations aiming to promote public understanding of the field. It's certainly been an exciting one so far for science policy. Here's a rundown of important developments thus far, as culled from our new science policy blog, ScienceInsider:
Politicians want the U.S. government to show science the money. Earlier this week, House leaders strongly signaled their desire to have research, training, and scientific equipment be part of a massive economic recovery package. Barack Obama is on the same page. Yesterday, the president-elect announced that science will play a key role in his $800 billion economic plan, which includes investments in energy, education, and medical research. Obama is also getting some advice from scientists at the Food and Drug Administration, whose own economic recovery plan has landed the agency in hot water.
Other stories highlighted the peril of the traveling scientist. As last year drew to a close, a member of a U.S. scientific delegation was interrogated for 9 hours in his Tehran hotel. It's unclear whether the incident is the opening salvo of a concerted effort to derail scientific cooperation between Iran and the West. And this week, a social scientist died from injuries sustained during an earlier attack in Afghanistan, while in China, a recent incident came to light in which local authorities fined and confiscated the GPS equipment of two British students on a geophysics expedition. In more positive news for global science, a National Academies' panel urged the United States to relax rules restricting scientific communication between countries, as a way of cutting a thicket of red tape that is hindering the work of high-tech companies, scientists who want to collaborate with foreigners, and even efforts to equip U.S. soldiers with up-to-date weapons.
As 2009 swings into gear, don't let breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy pass you by. Make reading ScienceInsider your New Year's resolution.