Talking Points by Martin Apple
President, Council of Scientific Society Presidents
Science at a Time of National Emergency: Be Bold, Think Big,
Think Out of the Box
- The United States is facing several major
national emergencies today. Science and universities will be important
to solving most of them. University leaders must think outside
of the box and show bold leadership.
- Universities are on the cusp of multiple intersecting
trends, the uneasy coexistence of successive societal eras and
generations. Universities must restore their role as big picture
innovators, and develop a twenty-first century social contract
with society, industry, and virtual education.
- Scientists are the constituency of the future.
The grand challenges for the future include: converting the nation
and the world into entirely sustainable systems; developing the
human potential to learn; building healthier lives through prevention
rather than treatment; stimulating economic engines that prosper
without further population growth and environmental damage; developing
affordable, sustainable energy autonomy; understanding and developing
beneficial human behavior.
- Unlinked tax cuts, not recession or defense
buildups, account for most of the burgeoning federal deficits
of the last half century. Escalating deficit will constrain science
to a "no growth" quiet erosion over the next decade,
unless we act now in unison to change that trend.
- Federal funding of graduate student positions
has already declined in several scientific disciplines, and the
U.S. has lost its edge in the race to build a faster, more efficient
- We need a new defense strategy and paradigm.
- How can science provide a competitive advantage
against networks of fanatic murderers? The Council of Scientific
Society Presidents has suggested using scientific experts across
the country in SWAT-teams (scientifically weighted and analyzed
tactics). SWAT-teams could serve as a unique part-time National
Guard that matches the agility of our opponents by their very
nature as dispersed, rapid learning groups with advanced knowledge.
- Secrecy and science are diametric antitheses.
New federal security regulations may not only change the way universities
do business, but in fact erode the quality of science in the long
- Case studies: food security and high consequence
pathogens. Do we need a new national center for food system security?
the 2002 White Paper, including this keynote address
with Martin Apple on Science at a Time of National Emergency