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Might Serve, If Asked

About half the researchers Science surveyed said they'd seriously consider, if asked, accepting a top-level position in the Trump Administration. In addition, most said they'd take a spot on a panel advising the president or a federal agency. Currently, there are number of such open spots, including the White House science advisor. 

"You need to be at the table, otherwise you are on the table," Kansas State University's Charles Rice, who says he is a moderate Republican, tells Science.

For the four-question survey, which Science notes was unscientific, it contacted 66 scientists and engineers who'd previously been involved in shaping US research policy. Of the 45 people who responded — about half of whom said they were Democrats, 40 percent were independents, and 10 percent were Republicans — 27 said they'd serve on an advisory committee and four said they might. Nine said they would not, while five noted they already did.

Respondents also told Science that working for the Trump Administration poses concerns previous administrations did not. "Unfortunately, providing science advice to a president who resists advice, would not understand it, or would distort it for personal and political reasons would be futile and frustrating," says Arden Bement, a Republican who served as National Institute of Standards and Technology director and National Science Foundation director. Still, Bement tells Science, "now is not the time to pull away."