In 2014, an array of AAAS programs focused on accelerating the pace of scientific discovery in service of society. Along with dozens of other leading organizations, for example, AAAS advocated to “Close the Innovation Deficit.” In written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, the coalition pointed out that U.S. federal research and development expenditures as a share of the nation’s economy have remained nearly flat over the last decade. By comparison, investments have increased by nearly 50 percent in South Korea and by nearly 90 percent in China. “Our nation is losing ground by insufficiently investing in scientific research and education and shackling itself with visionless continuing [funding] resolutions,” the group wrote in a subsequent letter to policymakers. (For more information on AAAS science policy activities, visit the Science Policy section.)
Given the global nature of our most pressing problems, the association continued in 2014 to promote science diplomacy and international research collaboration. U.S. President Barack Obama established new diplomatic ties with Cuba in 2014. AAAS applauded the policy change, and it forged a landmark agreement with the Cuban Academy of Sciences to encourage cooperation between scientists from both nations. AAAS also implemented an ambitious Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) competition, convening 30 young entrepreneurs from 23 developing nations. The program, established by the U.S. Department of State at Obama’s direction, showcased science-based innovations such as a mobile application to reduce infant and maternal mortality in Uganda, and a bicycle-powered cell phone charger for people in Malawi. (See Science Diplomacy Worldwide.)
The effective communication of science is critical for ensuring public trust in the integrity of science, and scientists. Toward that end, AAAS released an influential report, in English and Spanish, to spell out the extensive body of scientific evidence related to human-caused climate change (see Communication and Public Engagement). The “What We Know” report, approved by a committee of leading experts, including Nobel laureate Mario Molina, was supported by the Rockefeller Family Fund, Lawrence H. Linden, and others. Also in 2014, the association organized a series of popular Communicating Science workshops for scientists and engineers (see Communication and Public Engagement), and the AAAS Lemelson Invention Ambassadors program highlighted the importance of invention and inventors (See Education, Outreach, and Careers).
The devastating Ebola outbreak posed major public-health and communication challenges. In response, AAAS quickly assembled a special, freely accessible collection of authoritative research and news articles from the Science family of journals. The association also co-sponsored a Washington, D.C., conference on global health security issues related to Ebola, and separately, AAAS S&T Policy Fellows convened experts to identify key needs in the most heavily affected regions of Africa. On 29 August, Science published the sequencing of 99 Ebola virus genomes from West African patients. The results provided insights into how the Ebola virus had entered West Africa, where it had never been before, setting the stage for improved diagnosis and treatment. (See Science Journals for more Science highlights on the avian genome, the Rosetta spacecraft’s encounter with a comet, and much more.)
Preparing the next-generation of innovators is critical to scientific discovery. AAAS therefore remains dedicated to improving science education, while also helping to diversify the science and technology pipeline. Project 2061, the science-education reform initiative at AAAS, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Science for All Americans—an influential call to action on U.S. science literacy and national education standards in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). AAAS also joined forces with other organizations to set forth recommendations for improving undergraduate STEM education. (See Improving Science Literacy.)
The association has meanwhile positioned itself to achieve even greater impacts on society in the future, by launching a far-reaching, strategic Transformation Initiative as well as a new online open-access journal, Science Advances. Through the Transformation Initiative, AAAS has moved beyond its print-centric roots to become a multimedia, multiplatform science communication enterprise with a “digital-first” mindset. Those efforts in 2014 included testing of a new digital communication and collaboration platform, Trellis (www.trelliscience.com). At the same time, AAAS has prioritized advocacy and other member-focused activities, while Science Advances has increased the volume of high-quality research available to the public. With your help, we will continue to promote innovation and scientific discovery to improve quality of life worldwide.
— Phillip A. Sharp and Rush D. Holt
Board of Directors (2014-2015)
Phillip A. Sharp
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Gerald R. Fink
University of Oregon
David Evans Shaw
Black Point Group
Chief Executive Officer
Rush D. Holt (2015)
Alan I. Leshner (2014)
Bonnie L. Bassler
May R. Berenbaum
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Carlos J. Bustamente
University of California, Berkeley
Claire M. Fraser
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Laura H. Greene
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Irvine
University of Texas at Austin
Inder M. Verma
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Rush D. Holt
Chief Operating Officer
Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs
Edward Derrick, Chief Program Director
Juli Staiano, Director
Digital Media Group
Rob Covey, Chief Digital Media Officer
Education and Human Resources
Shirley M. Malcom, Director
Chris Gaston, Chief of Staff and Director, Executive Operations (2015)
Gretchen Seiler, Director, Executive Office (2014)
Colleen Struss, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Legal Officer
Alison French, Chief Human Resources Officer
International and Security Affairs
Vaughan Turekian, Chief International Officer and Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy
Michael Savelli, Chief Technology Officer
Beth Bush, Chief Membership Officer
Josh Freeman, Senior Advisor
Office of Government Relations
Joanne Carney, Director
Office of Public Programs
Ginger Pinholster, Director
Office of Publishing, Marketing, and Sales (OPMS)
Kent R. Anderson, Publisher
Jo Ellen Roseman, Director
Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief
Monica Bradford, Executive Editor
Tim Appenzeller, News Editor
American Association for the Advancement of Science
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