Biodiversity: Biological diversity provides food, fiber, medicines, clean water and many other products and services on which we depend every day. Scientists are finding that the variety and variability of life is diminishing at an alarming rate as a result of human activity. What steps will you take to protect biological diversity?
Food: Agriculture involves a complex balance of land and energy use, worker health and safety, water use and quality, and access to healthy and affordable food, all of which have inputs of objective knowledge from science. How would you manage the U.S. agricultural enterprise to our highest benefit in the most sustainable way?
Public Health: Public health efforts like smoking cessation, drunk driving laws, vaccination, and water fluoridation have improved health and productivity and save millions of lives. How would you improve federal research and our public health system to better protect Americans from emerging diseases and other public health threats, such as antibiotic resistant superbugs?
Vaccinations: Public health officials warn that we need to take more steps to prevent international epidemics from viruses such as Ebola and Zika. Meanwhile, measles is resurgent due to decreasing vaccination rates. How will your administration support vaccine science?There are several questions related to mental health issues, and the epidemic of opioid abuse. The rest of the list poses specific questions related to energy, environment, space, and the Internet.
It is likely that the campaigns will respond to the written questions. Probably the most conspicuous omission (relative to the volume of recent debate and controversy in the life science community) is the emerging issue of the management and uses of gene-editing technologies (see earlier posts here and here). Additionally, there is no explicit acknowledgment of dual-use research in the life sciences (see earlier posts here and here). Nonetheless, the organization does elevate the visibility of science-related policies as central aspects of 21st century governance, and implicitly suggests that any credible candidate in 2016 needs to exhibit some degree of scientific literacy.