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20 Science Questions

As part of the 2016 ScienceDebate, US presidential candidates from the Democratic, Republican, and Green parties describe how their administrations would approach certain science and science policy issues. The debate organizers crowd-sourced 20 questions that ask candidates how their administrations would bolster innovation, invest in research, and address scientific integrity, among other topics.

In her response to a question about innovation, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton says that innovation stems from both basic and applied research and that her administration would fund research at a level that enables multi-year planning and research into emerging areas. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Donald Trump says in his response that innovation is a byproduct of a free-market system and that the government should reduce barriers to enable entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace, while also investing in space exploration and academic R&D. In addition, Green Party candidate Jill Stein says that the reduced Pentagon spending in her platform would free up funds for R&D investment and that living wages and paid sick leave would enable people to be more innovative.

The candidates likewise expressed their support for research. Clinton emphasizes the need for high-risk, high-reward projects, while Trump calls for a space program and institutional research to act as incubators for innovation and Stein says she'll re-focus government agencies and make climate change research a priority.

The debate organizers also asked the candidates about how they'd promote scientific transparency and keep it free from political bias. Clinton says she would promote a culture of scientific integrity and communication; Trump says he would ensure transparency and accountability; and Stein says she would close the revolving door between regulators and industry.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson has yet to respond, the debate organizers note.