"Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over," Obama said. "Our progress as a nation -- and our values as a nation -- are rooted in free and open inquiry. To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy."
That line drew the most sustained applause of the speech from the roughly 900 individuals gathered in attendance, according to a White House media pool report.
Obama names science advisory council
Besides promising increases in energy research, Obama also announced the formation of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST), a group that will advise the president on numerous public policies.
"This council represents leaders from many scientific disciplines who will bring a diversity of experiences and views," Obama said. "I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation."
Obama said in particular the council will focus on issues such as strengthening weather forecasting, management of the nation's natural resources and stewardship of coastal zones and resources.
The council will be co-chaired by John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology; Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project; and Harold Varmus, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a Nobel laureate.
Other council members:
Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan and an expert on climate science.
Christine Cassel, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Christopher Chyba, professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton University and a member of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences.
S. James Gates Jr., professor of physics and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland.
Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Richard Levin, president of Yale University and an economist with expertise in the area of international organizations.
Chad Mirkin, professor of materials science and engineering, chemistry, and medicine at Northwestern University, as well as director of Northwestern's International Institute of Nanotechnology.
Mario Molina, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego, and the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well as the director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment in Mexico City. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995 for research related to the Earth's ozone layer.
Ernest Moniz, professor of physics and engineering systems, director of the Energy Initiative, and director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at MIT. Former undersecretary of DOE and associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft Corp.
William Press, professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously served as deputy laboratory director for science and technology at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
Maxine Savitz, retired general manager of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell Inc. and former deputy assistant secretary for conservation in the Department of Energy.
Barbara Schaal, professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, with an expertise in plant geneticist. Schaal serves as vice president of the National Academy of Sciences, the first woman ever elected to that role.