Candidates on Science

As scientists, we worry about how the election will affect the progression of science and funding for research. Much of the funding for science is through federal grants and organizations like the Department of Energy and NOAA. Therefore, the available funding for research could depend on President’s desire to see research funded. This, in turn, could have large impacts on the careers of many scientists. For example, President Obama recently signed an act that increased NIH’s 2016 budget by $2 billion dollars. However, with the national debt on the rise, we can’t expect the budget for research to increase with the new President. It is important to know the willingness of the candidate to fund issues that are important to us so that we might make a more informed decision.

Funding

I found little to no information about Trump’s view on funding of the sciences. His main platform seems to be cut spending, cut taxes. However, in an interview he did express a desire to invest in science:

“Though there are increasing demands to curtail spending and to balance the federal budget, we must make the commitment to invest in science, engineering, healthcare, and other areas that will make the lives of Americans better, safer and more prosperous” He does go on to say: “In a time of limited resources, one must ensure that the nation is getting the greatest bang for the buck.”

I found no specific issues that Trumps wants to fund.

Clinton doesn’t appear to be as concerned about cutting spending as Trump. While she does talk about the need to invest in scientific research she does prioritize neurological research. She proposes to spend 2 billion per year combating Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health diseases. In addition, she wants to provide new federal funding for research into brain development and human behavior. This is probably aimed at her desire to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

Clinton says: “Funding is needed not only for the basic science research agencies and the large science and engineering mission agencies but also for the broader universe of agencies that are increasingly dependent on STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] for their missions.”

In order to build the tech economy, Hilary wants to increase funding in computer science and STEM education. This would include letting young entrepreneurs defer student loan payments when they are trying to get a start-up company off the ground. However, priority would be given to minorities, women, and the young. Another way Clinton wants to encourage entrepreneurs is through improvement in the patent and copy write system.

Non-American Scientist

In order allow the US to remain a top leader in the tech industry Clinton wants to “staple” a green card to students that have graduated with a masters or Ph.D. from an accredited school. She also supports the distribution of visas to top entrepreneurs so they can build companies and create jobs in the U.S.

Trump to American scientists to be more competitive in the US. One way he plans to do that is by increasing the minimum amount an immigrate on an H1 visa has to make.

Climate Change

Hilary has several things she wants to do to prevent global warming. It focusses on increasing renewable energy. She wants to place half a billion solar panel by the end of her first term and reduce American oil consumption by one third. She will also support Obama’s pledge at the Paris climate change (something Trump is unwilling to do). Clinton also wants to launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families.

Trump denies climate change and while I believe that his 4-year-old twitter comment that the idea of global warming was invented by the Chinese was trolling, he has gone on in other tweets to deny global warming. However, Trump does want to increase the use of clean energy but it is not a priority. He believes that there are other things that should come first. This includes improving water quality and combating malaria.

Trump, like Clinton, is a proponent of nuclear energy. Both for different reasons but increasing nuclear energy would reduce carbon footprint. Trump has said that global warming is occurring but that it is not caused by humans.

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