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Delays In Presidential Appointments For Certain U.S. Agencies Could Harm Scientific Research, Broader Public

Nature: Trump’s empty chairs rob science of a voice in government
Editorial Board

“…[U.S. President] Trump’s dithering over key scientific positions puts the country’s research community and the broader public at risk. For many researchers, the main concern has been the lack of a science adviser to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy. … Biomedical researchers, meanwhile, are waiting to see how long Francis Collins will continue to serve as director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The National Cancer Institute, the head of which is also appointed by the president, has been led by its deputy director since April 2015. And some of the major science agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lack a leader. The uncertainty makes it difficult for agencies to plan ahead, negotiate for resources and launch initiatives. And the patchwork of vacancies will debilitate efforts to deal with emerging crises, which often require a coordinated response across agencies. … With any new president comes uncertainty, and no administration completes its full roster of appointments by the end of its first year. But Trump is lagging well behind his predecessors, and is fostering a damaging sense of uncertainty by suggesting that he will leave these chairs empty” (4/28).

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