The U.S. Science Laureate Bill was thought to be an easy pass, but on September 10, it hit a road block. The bill, introduced this past spring by a bipartisan coalition of both House and Senate legislators, would enable the president to name up to three Science Laureates. The unpaid, one- to two-year-term laureate was intended to serve as a traveling role model, empowering students nationwide to become excited about pursuing a career in science.
The bill, which was backed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and several other science organizations, was pulled from the House floor after complaints by climate change skeptics that the position would promote political ends.
This action comes on the heels of the High Quality Research Act passed in April, which requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) director to certify that every NSF-funded project supports the interest of the United States in advancing national health, prosperity, or welfare or securing the national defense by promoting the progress of science, thereby undercutting the integrity of the highly regarded NSF merit review process.
“U.S. Science Laureate Bill Hits Roadblock,” ScienceInsider, September 12, 2013
“AERA Continues to Defend Federal Role in Basic Research,” AERA Highlights, May 2013