Tuesday, June 03, 2008

USGS director bemoans loss of knowledge infrastructure

USGS Director Mark Myers is worried that the loss of the nation's knowledge infrastructure over the last 40 years has damaged our ability to make good public policy based on sound science. He made this and other wide-ranging comments at an informal breakfast meeting this morning at the USGS offices on the UA campus in Tucson.

He also expressed frustration with the lack of incentives and the uncertainty facing students who might consider science careers. Business and banking are attracting the nations 'best and brightest.'

A third note is the transfer of responsibility for many of the nation's domestic issues from traditional government agencies to the Dept. of Homeland Security, driven by budget constraints in agencies like the USGS, while large new resources go to DHS and related programs.

UA President Robert Shelton and a small number of UA deans, department heads, and leading researchers were also in attendance. Mark is in town to tour the USGS operations and meet with staff, then will speak at the Arizona Geological Society dinner meeting tonight (I'll blog about that talk tomorrow).

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