Top federal officials to speak at 20-21 April AAAS policy forum

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and White House science adviser John H. Marburger III are among the scheduled speakers at the 31st annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy to be held 20-21 April at the Washington Court Hotel. The Forum, widely recognized as the major public meeting in the United States on science and technology policy issues, will feature sessions on avian flu and other global health threats; protecting the integrity of science; use of science and technology to help achieve energy security and homeland security; and the U.S. response to the global innovation challenge. The Forum also will assess the research and development spending proposals in the pending 2007 federal budget and their implications for the future.

Information on the Forum is available at: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/forum.htm
Credentialed reporters may register by contacting Lonnie Shekhtman, 202-326-6434, lshekthm@aaas.org or Earl Lane, 202-326-6431, elane@aaas.org.

Marburger will deliver the keynote address on Thursday, 20 April, at 9 a.m. The opening plenary session at 10 a.m. will discuss the budget and policy context for proposed R&D spending in the FY2007 federal budget. Kei Koizumi, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, will assess the long-term implications of the proposed budget, which would increase R&D spending to nearly $137 billion in 2007 but continue the Administration's emphasis on development of weapons and space vehicles. As a result, funding for the remainder of the R&D portfolio would fall, even after the requested increases for the President's American Competitiveness Initiative are taken into account.

Other speakers at the opening session include Bill Hoagland, director for budget and appropriations in the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); Douglas Holtz-Eakins, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and now with the Council on Foreign Relations; and William Saletan, national correspondent for Slate, the online magazine.

Gerberding will be the luncheon speaker on Thursday. Her agency has been deeply involved in monitoring the global spread of avian flu and its potential impact on human health. Gerberding recently acknowledged that the 2007 budget proposal includes spending reductions for important CDC programs such as research on infectious and environmental diseases, health promotion and studies on public health. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , she said CDC is "working hard to be more effective with less," adding, "I'm not going to pretend that it's not a challenge."

Pandemic flu and other global health threats will be discussed at one of three concurrent sessions on Thursday afternoon. Speakers at the health threats session will include Linda Lambert, chief of the respiratory diseases branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Cecile Viboud, a research scientist at the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health; and Peter Sandman, a risk communications consultant from Princeton, N.J.

AAAS President John Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard University and director of the Woods Hole Research Center, will moderate and speak at the second of the concurrent sessions, a look at energy challenges for the 21st century. The third session will be on science and homeland security, featuring Gretchen Lorenzi of the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit; Starnes E. Walker III, chief scientist at the Office of Naval Research; Vayl Oxford, director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; and Richard T. Roca, director of the Applied Physics Laboratory of The Johns Hopkins University.

Harold T. Shapiro, president emeritus and professor emeritus of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, will deliver the annual William D. Carey lecture at 5:45 p.m. on 20 April. Shapiro chaired the National Bioethics Advisory Commission during President Bill Clinton's second term.

The Forum continues Friday 21 April with breakfast remarks by John Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; a morning plenary session on responses by industry and U.S. policy makers to the global innovation challenge, chaired by Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; a luncheon address by Energy Secretary Bodman; and an afternoon plenary session on protecting the integrity of science with Felice Levine, executive director of the American Educational Research Association; Nicholas Steneck, professor of history at the University of Michigan and currently with the Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services; and John Horgan, Stevens Institute of Technology, author of The End of Science.

The Washington Court Hotel is at 525 New Jersey Ave, N.W., three blocks from the Capitol Building and two blocks from Union Station. Metro: Red Line, Union Station.

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, reaching 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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