After more than a year in office, US President Donald Trump has yet to appoint a science advisor, the Huffington Post reports. It notes that that's the longest the position, which oversees the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has been vacant since 1976.
"It's vital for the president to get the best science advice, and right now, he isn't getting that. His decisions are being made without the benefit of science," John Holdren, who served as science advisor during the Obama Administration, tells the Boston Globe.
But, the Huffington Post adds, that that might not be for a lack of trying. Science reported last week that White House logs indicate that three candidates for the position were interviewed last spring. It's not clear, Science said, whether the job was offered to any of the candidates — their names were redacted from the log for privacy — but it said the interviews indicate that the Trump Administration has attempted to fill the position.
In a January op-ed in the New York Times, Rice University's Neal Lane, a former science advisor during the Clinton Administration, and Stanford University's Michael Riordan said that it might be difficult to find a scientist willing to serve in that capacity because of President Trump's "obvious disdain for science." However, an admittedly unscientific survey by Science in December found that about half the scientists they asked said they'd at least consider taking the role.