Good Science Must Guide Legislation

A Policy Statement of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents
Washington, D.C.


Good science assures the nation’s health, wealth and national security. As we approach the November elections, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) urges all national, state and local elected officials, and those who are candidates for election, to stress the importance of best scientific practices in legislative and policy deliberations.

The well-being of Americans is currently challenged on many fronts. These include: a pandemic that has seriously affected the nation’s health and economy, drought, catastrophic fires, flooding from torrential storms and sea level rise, and threats to our crop, forest and fishery resources - all being exacerbated by climate change. Cybersecurity is a growing problem leading to compromises to personal identities, intellectual property, through the hijacking and ransoming of websites and databases belonging to companies, municipalities, and healthcare systems; and even putting the integrity of our electoral process into question. Good science will help resolve these threats and provide hope for a future in which we can all be vested.

America’s scientific resources, across academia, industry, non-profit and government agencies must be mobilized to the fullest extent possible to find solutions to the issues that are currently impacting the nation’s wellbeing. Restoring the nation’s health through scientific innovation will help drive the economy in new directions and provide the United States with a competitive advantage in global trade, health and food security. Technology will overcome the challenges of cybersecurity.

The CSSP urges Congress to provide and grow strong funding for government scientific agencies like the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, EPA, NOAA, NASA, DOE, USDA, USGS, and DARPA. In order to nurture the next generation of scientists, and promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences, the CSSP encourages Congress to support and facilitate STEM education in grades K-12, and in community colleges. Special emphasis should be given to the teaching of mathematics and scientific literacy.

Development of vaccines and treatment for the Covid-19 virus requires leading-edge collaborative scientific research. Past U.S. government investment in creating new biomedical knowledge has been crucial to our progress in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and should continue. Partnering with the world’s best scientists will advance this effort and prepare for future pandemics.

A significant reduction in carbon emissions is essential for limiting global warming to tolerable levels. The United States must take the technological lead in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources. This is not just an environmental issue, but a substantial business opportunity. Global investment in renewable energy in the past decade has exceeded US$ 2.5 trillion, and is now more than US$ 300 Billion/year. According to United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and BloombergNEF, $71.9 billion was invested in the USA in 2019. UNEP also reports that wind and solar are now the cheapest options for electricity generation in many countries. The United States must regain a leadership position in renewable energy technology.

We live in a global economy where ground-breaking scientific research is being conducted on every continent. International collaboration is critical to the development of new technologies and health solutions. We should strive to attract the best and brightest international students and researchers to America, and incentivize them to remain here.

Sound scientific principles should be the major factor in legislating solutions to enhance the nation’s health, prosperity, and security. Investment in science is investment in our future!

Approved by CSSP Board 9/28/2020

Submitted by CSSP Committee on Government and Public Affairs, Chair, Skip Hobbs

Founded in 1973, Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) has served as a center for national science leadership development, a strong voice in support of science, and the premier forum for national science policy development and open, substantive exchanges on current issues encompassing the full spectrum of science, engineering, and mathematics. CSSP is committed to “Advancing Leadership in Science and Technology” and to establishing policies and programs that will ensure a bright future for 21st century science.

The CSSP is a unique organization representing the breadth of science and engineering research disciplines through its member societies and federations. CSSP member societies are represented by their presidents, presidents-elect, and recent past presidents of leading scientific societies and federations whose combined membership is over one million.

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