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Funding people, not projects April 23, 2009

Posted by Sarah in politics, science.
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Today I attended a talk by Prof. Cornelis van Bochove, who was appointed as Professor of Science Policy Studies at Leiden University in February last year. Van Bochove has had an interesting career: after a number of years in econometrics research, he became Director of the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics for 5 years until 1999, after that Director of Research and Science Policy at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science until 2007. In those years he apparently always showed a keen interest in astronomy and was a strong supporter of the Dutch astronomy community, which has a long history of international excellence. Rather than hang up his hat, van Bochove joined Leiden to go back to the bench. The focus of his research is “evidence-based science policy”. So he’s looking at the science behind funding science. A bit of a brain twister, I know. But the talk turned out to be very interesting, and a little bit surreal. (more…)

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Science kudos for Obama December 21, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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US President-elect Barack Obama has been appointing some excellent people to advise him on all things scientific during his presidency. His latest appointment, John Holdren, to the post of director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has been met with particular joy from the scientific community, as Holdren is a physicist and leading expert on climate change. Hurrah!

Read more in The Guardian here, or the New York Times here. Phil Plait has some opinions on Obama’s appointments and the future of NASA under his administration.

UPDATE: Obama’s weekly address on YouTube of 20 December was actually about his science policy and appointments, watch it below. Sounds good!