Mary L. Good: Science Should Be Pillar of Public Policy

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Mar. 29, 2010 12:00 am  

In addition to government positions, Good has also been active on the private-sector side of the scientific community. From 1988 to 1993, she was senior vice president of technology for AlliedSignal Inc., according to the Acxiom Corp. Web site. Good is a member of the Acxiom board of directors. AlliedSignal had a history in oil and gas, aerospace and materials production. The company merged with Honeywell International Inc. in 1999.

Good said she believes science should be a major factor in determining public policy.

"I think it should be the foundation of public policy in many ways," she said, "because if you look at competition in the world today, that competition is essentially for new products, new manufacturing methodology, new health care venues, and all of that - the foundation for it - is science and technology and quality engineers."

It is very important for the United States to ensure that its scientists and engineers have adequate research resources so that they can continue to foster a competitive technology base and increase educational opportunities that will attract the best minds available, she said.

"Otherwise, we are not going to be competitive in the coming world, because countries like China and India are increasing their input in these areas every day," she said.

One way of doing that is to increase research and development investment, she said.

"And that is beginning to happen. The Obama administration has already made some funds available to the NSF and NIST, and also to the Department of Energy. But somehow we need to make those more permanent," she said.

"We need the people who do that work to feel like they're going to have access to those funds for a long time, because research is a continuous process and you don't do it all in one day."

Another important goal in ensuring a competitive edge in the global economy is interesting children in science.

"We've simply got to get them to the point where they understand that [science is an] exciting thing to do. And my own career would suggest that," she said.

"The biggest draw is that most of the people I know who have careers in science and technology or engineering, very rarely do they hate to go to work, because it's always, for the most part, interesting work. And so somehow, we need to get students to understand that although it takes a lot of work to get there, the self-satisfaction for a lifetime is wonderful."





Please read our comments policy before commenting.