This paper offers recommendations for the next president to consider when choosing the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and establishing priorities for science and technology policy and federal research funding.
The Civic Scientist Lecture Series features leading scientists and engineers who have had an impact on public policy. Past events in the series have been sponsored by the Baker Institute Science and Technology Program with generous support from Benjamin and Winifer Cheng. Additional support was provided by Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences and grants from the Kavli Foundation and the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 2042854).
Visit our event library to view a list of all events in the Civic Scientist Lecture Series.
Bruce Alberts, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, Science Magazine
Norman Augustine, Retired CEO and Chairman of Lockheed Martin
David Baltimore, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor, California Institute of Technology
Robert Bazell, Nonresident Fellow in Science and Technology, Baker Institute; Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Yale University
Vint Cerf, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
Stephen Chu, Ph.D., William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Stanford University; Former U.S. Secretary of Energy; Nobel Laureate
Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D., Chairman, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.; Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland; Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Former Director, National Science Foundation
France A. Córdova, Ph.D., Former Director, National Science Foundation
Robert F. Curl Jr., Ph.D., University Professor Emeritus, Rice University; Nobel Laureate
Kelvin K. Droegemeier, Ph.D., Former Science Advisor to President Donald Trump; Former Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
David Eagleman, Ph.D., Director, Laboratory for Perception and Action, Baylor College of Medicine
Sylvia Earle, Ph.D., Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic
Sylvester James Gates Jr., Ph.D., Member, National Academy of Sciences; University System Regents Professor and the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park
John Hennessy, Former President of Stanford University; Former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alphabet Inc.
Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., Fellow in Disease and Poverty, Baker Institute
Alice Huang, Ph.D., Senior Faculty Associate in Biology, California Institute of Technology
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Anita Jones, Ph.D., Department Chair and Owen R. Cheatham Professor of Computer Science, Emerita, University of Virginia
Sir Harry W. Kroto, Ph.D., Professor, Florida State University; Nobel Laureate
Neal Lane, Ph.D., Senior Fellow in Science and Technology Policy, Baker Institute
David Laude, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost and Professor, The University of Texas at Austin
Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Marcia McNutt, Ph.D., President, National Academy of Sciences
John Mendelsohn, M.D., Former L.E. and Virginia Simmons Fellow in Health and Technology Policy, Baker Institute
William H. Press, Ph.D., Raymer Professor, Department of Computer Science, The University of Texas at Austin
Eric Schmidt, Chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence; Co-founder of Schmidt Futures; Former CEO, Google
Subra Suresh, Sc.D., Former Director, National Science Foundation
Jeannette M. Wing, Ph.D., Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research; Consulting Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
The “Developing Civic Scientist Leaders” (DCSL) program was created to provide Rice University science and engineering graduate students with an opportunity to learn about the intersection of scientific research and government policymaking processes, and to develop the communication and leadership skills necessary to effectively engage with state and federal legislators on policy challenges related to science, technology, innovation and higher education. The goal of the program is to build a network of civically engaged scientists, engineers and other technical professionals who use their knowledge of science to advance policy in the public interest as they progress in their respective careers at Rice, in Houston and across the country.
Fact Sheets: Public Funding of Science and Technology Research and Development: 2020
DCSL graduate students from Rice University’s schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering developed the following infographic fact sheets. They were virtually presented to federal and Texas state congressional representatives and their staff in the fall of 2020 to promote the need for public funding of science and technology research & development.
Blogs and Opinion Pieces
The 2020 DCSL cohort produced a series of opinion pieces on a variety of topics related to science and technology policy. Read them at the Baker Institute Blog or the Science and Technology Policy Program’s Medium page.
"Is My Neighborhood Polluted? The Case for Mobile Monitoring in Houston"
"Biomanufacturing at Epi(demi)c Proportions"
"Supporting resourceful space exploration"
Prakash Reddy Chintakunta
"Restoring natural bodies of water: An emerging crisis"
"Preparing for the next employment revolution"
"Facing our climate contradictions"
"The Ones the COVID-19 Relief (CARES) Bill Left Behind"
"The Unspoken Threat of the Anthropocene"
"Destroying environmental protections during Covid-19 will cause more respiratory illness"
"Environmental policy update: More deregulation by the Trump Administration"
"Texas Should Adopt Stricter Standards on Persistent Chemical Pollutants"
"Sears: Once your ordinary department store, now a vehicle for tech sector gentrification"
"How can we prevent the next ‘CRISPR babies’?"
Funding for the 2020 DCSL cohort was generously provided by Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, with additional support from Benjamin and Winifer Cheng and Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences.
Achievement in math and science among America’s school children is a point of serious concern for both education and business leaders. The Civic Scientist Program aims to address this problem by sending Rice University and other Houston-area scientists and engineers who have demonstrated leadership in science and in the public sphere to local middle and high schools. The goal of these visits is to present science to underrepresented students in a way that educates and invigorates them about scientific discovery and purpose. The scientists share information about what ignited their interest in science, the trials and tribulations that have led to their success, what inspires them on a daily basis and the importance of science in our society.
Support for community outreach is generously provided by Winifer and Benjamin Cheng.
In the seven years since we began the Civic Scientist Outreach Program, scientists and engineers from Rice University and the Houston community have presented to more than 8,500 students, with a total of 134 lectures given at 54 different schools.
For the 2017-2018 school year, the program received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, and 100% of the teachers surveyed enjoyed the presentation and would recommend the program to other teachers.
For more information on the program or if you are interested in participating as a class or speaker, please email email@example.com or (713) 348-4784.
“Ever since we talked about gene editing at school I have been interested in what the future will look like and how we can help others through gene editing. When you came here I was so excited, because I learned more and maybe some day I will study that and cure cancer.”
—Eighth-grader from KIPP Academy Middle School, 2018 (Civic Scientist: Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Ph.D.)
“My students and I were genuinely fascinated by Dr. Solomon's presentation, and many of my seniors are now thinking of going in to biology research for college.”
—Teacher from Heights High School, 2017 (Civic Scientist: Scott Solomon, Ph.D.)
“[Materials science and metallurgy] was a subject that very few had prior knowledge about but everyone could relate to when they saw how many applications the technology had. Finally, just hearing about a 3-D metal printer and seeing examples of its uses was worth the visit. We would love to have Dr. Cordero back anytime.”
—Teacher from Olle STEM Academy, 2016 (Civic Scientist: Zack Cordero, Ph.D.)
“The students loved her talk. It was a great balance of advanced information presented in a very understandable way. They also really enjoyed the first part of her talk about her own background growing up as child of immigrants to the US.”
—Teacher from YES Prep North Forest, 2015 (Civic Scientist: Junghae Suh, Ph.D.)
Pulickel Ajayan, Professor in Engineering, Materials Science, and Nanoengineering and Chemistry, Rice University
David Alexander, Associate Professor of Astrophysics and Director of the Rice Space Institute, Rice University
Ronda Alexander, Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Oluwatoyin Asojo, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
Matthew Baring, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Co-Chair, Graduate Admissions and Recruiting, Rice University
Scott Basinger, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Opthalmology and Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine
Arthur Bienenstock, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Photon Science and Special Assistant to the President for Federal Research Policy, Stanford University
Janet Braam, Department Chair, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University
Audrea Burns, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology, Baylor College of Medicine
Dan Carson, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University
Daniel Cohan, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, Rice University
Rita Colwell, Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland; Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Former Director of the National Science Foundation
Micheal Cone, Instructor of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
Pamela Constantinou, Faculty Fellow, Biosciences; and Assistant Research Professor, Rice University
Zack Cordero, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, Rice University
Steven Cox, Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Master, Brown College, Rice University
Margaret French, Community Development Specialist and Science Communication Liaison for Bioscience Research Collaborative, Rice University
Sylvester James Gates Jr., University System Regents Professor and the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, director of the String and Particle Theory Center, University of College Park, Maryland
Gretchen Goldman, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Environmental Science, Engineering, Policy, and Justice, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Michael Gustin, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University
Amanda Hackler, Head of Career Development and Outreach, National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine Center for Space Medicine
Matthias Heinkenschloss, Noah G. Harding Chair and Professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University
Alison Henning, Adjunct Associate Professor of Earth Science, Rice University
Steve Hocick, Assistant Professor of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Bioloyg, The Ohio State University
Alice Huang, former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Senior Faculty Associate in Biology, California Institute of Technology
Jeff Jacot, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, Rice University
Anita Jones, Former Director of Defense and Engineering, U.S. Department of Defense
Mackale Joyner, Lecturer in Computer Science, Rice University
Stacey Kalovidouris, Executive Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Rice University
Nathasha Kirienko, Assistant Professor of BioSciences, Rice University
Neal F. Lane, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University; Senior Fellow, Baker Institute, Rice University; Former Director of the National Science Foundation
David Laude, Senior Vice Provost and Professor of Chemistry, the University of Texas, Austin
Stephan Link, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University
Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Fellow for Science and Technology Policy, Baker Institute, Rice University
Richard Meisel, Assistant Professor of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston
Antonios Mikos, Director of the Center for Excellence in Tissue Engineering, Director of the JW Cox Laboratory for Biomedical Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University
Dan Mittleman, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University
Antonio Neri, CEO, Hewlett-Packard Enterprises
Carolyn Nichol, Faculty Fellow in Chemistry, Rice University
K.C. Nicolaou, Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Chemistry, Rice University
Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade, M.D., Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor and Director, Center for Global Health, The University of Chicago
Jamie Padgett, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Rice University
Mesias Pedroza, Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, Rice University
William Press, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Warren J. and Viola Mae Raymer Chain, Computer Science and Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin
Amina Qutub, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, Rice University
Beatrice Riviere, Noah G. Harding Chair, Professor, Department Chair in Computational and Applied Mathematics Department, Rice University
Malcolm Ross, Geologist in Research and Development, Shell Oil Company; and Adjunct Professor of Earth Science, Rice University
Maude Rowland, Nonresident Scholar for Science and Technology Policy, Baker Institute, Rice University
Ron Sass, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University
Laura Schaefer, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering, Rice University
Yousif Shamoo, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Faculty Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Rice University
Shanna Simmons, Technical Advisor, Shell Oil Company
Scott Solomon, Professor in Practice of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University
Lauren Stadler, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University
Junghae Suh, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Rice University
Blake Sutherland, Graduate Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University
Yizhi Tao, Associate Professor, Biosciences, Rice University
Ned Thomas, Dean of Brown School of Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; and Chemistry, Rice University
James Tour, Professor of Chemistry; Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; Rice University
Robert Vajtai, Senior Faculty Fellow, Materials Science and Nanoengineering, Rice University
Daniel Wagner, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University
Kelly Weinersmith, Huxley Fellow in the Department of BioSciences, Rice University
Jennifer West, Chair and Professor of Bioengineering, Wiess College Faculty Associate, Rice University
Jeannette M. Wing, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, Consulting Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University