Biden administration must take swift action to support science, research, says Baker Institute expert

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HOUSTON – (Nov. 9, 2020) – President-elect Joe Biden's efforts to restore competency and trust in federal research agencies will require fundamental -- sometimes counter-intuitive -- changes that will strengthen the use of science in U.S. policy and by the research community, according to an expert at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute and former director of the National Science Foundation, outlined his insights in a new commentary piece for Nature, "Memo for President Biden: Five steps to getting more from science," which he co-authored with Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Lane is available to discuss his insights with the news media.

The authors' five suggestions are putting the pandemic response under the leadership of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; making scientific advisory processes more independent; expediting scientific-integrity legislation; giving public universities "tough love and lots of support"; and refocusing science funding.

Lane is also the co-author of a recent report, "The Perils of Complacency: America at a Tipping Point in Science and Engineering," released by the Baker Institute and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The report calls for investing in research and development to compete with China, focusing on fundamental research conducted in universities and national laboratories across the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. It also urges action to strengthen STEM education and the American workforce.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Lane, contact Jeff Falk, director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks as the No. 2 university-affiliated think tank in the world and the No. 1 energy think tank in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,