Contact: Becky Ham
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Washington, D.C. – United States presidential nominees Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, Jr. agree that increased federal investment in research and development and improvements in the quality of American education should be top science and technology priorities in the country’s next Administration, according to a questionnaire submitted to the two candidates by the journal Science.

On more specific questions ranging from global warming, to the security and research climate in national laboratories, to the National Science Foundation budget, however, the nominees’ responses reveal significant differences in their approach to science policy.

Bush and Gore both voiced their support for making the current research and experimentation tax credit permanent, and for increasing funding for biomedical research and information technology. Among Bush’s other top science and technology priorities are expanding funding for defense R&D, while Gore’s priorities include intensifying research in areas to improve the environment.

Each candidate repeatedly emphasized the need for improvements in American science and math education, proposing stronger curricula, an increase in more qualified teachers at all levels, and expansion in the number of college graduates.

In answer to a question about Department of Energy national laboratories and the perception of a hostile climate towards Asian-American scientists at such labs, Bush criticized the current Administration’s management and security of these research centers. Gore’s answer emphasized that “racial profiling” would not be tolerated at any national agency or laboratory.

The issue of global warming evoked different responses from the candidates as well, with Gore affirming the impact of human economy on the environment, and Bush stating that the causes and impact of warming are still uncertain. Gore’s environmental plan called for tax incentives to develop “green” technologies and reduce emissions, while Bush noted his support for market-based mechanisms to reduce global pollution.

The candidates also answered questions regarding genetically modified crops, the prominence of science agencies and advisors in their potential administrations, affirmative action programs to attract women and minorities to science, genetic discrimination, the high-tech workforce, drug pricing, and their own personal involvement in science.

Since the 1988 election, the Science editorial staff has invited presidential candidates to answer a series of questions about science policy. The editors pose their questions with the hope that the answers may clarify important science and technology issues for Americans, according to Science Editor-in-Chief Donald Kennedy.


This year’s questionnaire will be published at Science Online ( on 5 October 2000, and in the 13 October issue of the journal.

On Thursday, October 5, 2000 at 8 a.m. EDT, representatives of the two presidential campaigns will discuss the candidates’ plans and policies for science and technology at a forum sponsored by the Washington Science Policy Alliance. The forum will be held in the AAAS Auditorium in Washington, D.C., and broadcast live over the Internet. For more information on this event, please contact Cate Alexander at 202-326-6431 or