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A Science 'Champion'

When it comes to science, President Barack Obama has been a champion and a cheerleader who has revived moribund research programs, highlighted the value of scientific enterprise, and launched new initiatives to train the next generation of innovators, White House senior Science Advisor John Holdren told an audience recently.

What the president has failed to do, Holdren said at a lecture at the Stevens Institute of Technology last week, is to successfully battle budget hawks in Congress to boost funding for science, writes Erin Brodwin at Scientific American.

Holdren, who heads the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chairs the President's Council on Science and Technology, noted that the Obama Administration has revived climate science efforts, particularly with developing a research program to assess, predict, and respond to climate change. Obama also has funded a program to prepare 100,000 new STEM teachers for K-12 education and has sought funding to create a Master Teaching Corps of science and math teachers, Holdren said.

"He really likes working with scientists," Holdren said of the president, according to Brodwin. "And he understands why science is important for the national agenda."

Holdren said that the president also has made it a point to "talk more about science" and to boost the visibility of researchers by hosting events at the White House, such as the three science fairs he has hosted. "The President always says, if we bring football stars to the White House, we should certainly be bringing scientists," Holdren added.