SAN JOSE, Calif. A group of scientists and technologists will convene a national conference in October in an effort to get science and technology issues on the front burner of the 2008 presidential campaign.
Members of the Science Debate 2008 movement and the University of Minnesota today announced they will host Innovation 2008 on the university campus in Minneapolis Oct. 20-21. The group has invited representatives from the McCain and Obama campaigns to participate in the event which is open to the public.
"Clearly, the fundamental drivers of the U.S. economy need attention," said Shawn Lawrence Otto, chief executive of the Science Debate 2008
group and co-host of the event. "We need to forge a new path to remain a first rate economy," he said in a prepared statement.
The conference will explore economy renewal through new policies on areas including research, education, energy and security. The Science Debate 2008 group is backed by a broad range of organizations and individuals including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and more than 175 U.S. universities.
The group has trend unsuccessfully so far to get candidates to debate science and technology issues both during the primaries and the current fall campaign. It did manage to get responses from both the McCain and Obama campaigns to a list of 14 questions.
"We need to take that conversation further," said Steve Kelley, director of the university's Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the venue for the event.
The event has attracted a broad slate of speakers including two Nobel laureates, several authors, academics and industry and government leaders. Speakers from electronics include Russ Lefevre, president of the IEEE-USA and Rebecca Bergman, vice president of science and technology at Medtronic, Inc.
Some engineers and electronics executives expressed frustration that candidates are not listening to their concerns. It's not clear in the din of the current financial crisis how much attention the candidates will give to science and tech issues.