Sigma Xi Calls on Presidential Candidates to Address Key Science and Technology-based Questions

August 10, 2016

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: 
Jamie L. Vernon, PhD
Director of Science Communications and Publications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society or 800-243-6534 logoRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. ― Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society is in a group of 56 nonpartisan organizations, led by and representing scientists and engineers worldwide, that is calling on the U.S. presidential candidates to address a set of key science and technology-related questions. Journalists and voters are encouraged to ask the questions during the 2016 U.S. presidential election season.

The science consortium crowdsourced hundreds of suggestions, including questions from Sigma Xi members relating to how the candidates would move forward on climate change, research funding, education, and how to get electricity from space. After refining hundreds of suggestions, the science consortium compiled 20 questions relating to science, health, and environmental issues. 

These questions were forwarded to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein as well as their campaign policy staff, in the form of a questionnaire. The candidates were invited to answer the questions in writing and to discuss them on television. The groups are asking the candidates to provide responses by September 6. The questions and answers will be widely distributed to the science community, journalists, and the general public to help voters make well-informed decisions at the ballot box this November. 

“Research and innovation are the requisites for the growth and health of our nation,” said John C. Nemeth, executive director and chief executive officer of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. “Thus, the newly elected leadership of our enterprise must be able to demonstrate a full grasp of the investment priorities and have the ability to execute programs that will assure continued technological and economic superiority.” has had success in the past. During the past two presidential elections, President Barack Obama, Senator John McCain, and former Governor Mitt Romney responded in writing to 14 questions cultivated and reviewed by’s team on science and technology policy. 

Nonpartisan organizations participating in the 2016 effort include:

*American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Geographers
*American Chemical Society
American Fisheries Society
American Geophysical Union
*American Geosciences Institute
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
*American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Institute of Professional Geologists 
American Rock Mechanics Association
American Society for Engineering Education
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
American Society of Mammalogists
Association for Women in Geosciences
Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
Automation Federation
*Biophysical Society
Botanical Society of America
Carnegie Institution for Science
Conservation Lands Foundation
Crop Science Society of America
Duke University
Ecological Society of America
Geological Society of America
International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Materials Research Society
NACE International, The Worldwide Corrosion Authority
*National Academy of Engineering
*National Academy of Medicine
*National Academy of Sciences
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
*National Center for Science Education
National Ground Water Association
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Northeastern University
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Paleontological Society
Scientific American magazine
Seismological Society of America
*Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
Society of Fire Protection Engineers
Society of Wetland Scientists
Society of Women Engineers
Soil Science Society of America
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Tufts University
*Union of Concerned Scientists
University City Science Center
*U.S. Council on Competitiveness
The Wildlife Society
World Endometriosis Research Foundation America
*Codeveloper of the questions
**Lead partner organization

The consortium’s list of 20 questions is available online at (or, see the 20 questions in Spanish at Follow the conversation about the questions on social media using #ScienceQs. For more information, see the announcement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety