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The U.S. Needs a Department of Tech and Science Policy

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Illustration shows American flag superimposed over computer code.

Over the past decade or more, the U.S. government has had to do more in science and technology than simply foster discovery and then expect the private sector to apply those discoveries to practical purposes.

Credit: Getty Images

Harold Varmus and Elias Zerhouni are both former directors of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Unlike most other advanced economies, the U.S. has typically relied on a diversity of decentralized federal science agencies to design and conduct the government's research programs. Funding decisions are made by several congressional committees, with minimal oversight from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the White House.

While this distributed federal system has been a success, Varmous and Zerhouni believe the country needs an additional mechanism to promote national and global goals: a Department of Technology and Science Policy (DTSP), the leader of which would join other department heads and administration leaders to form the president's Cabinet.

From Nature
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