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Rush Holt is the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the executive publisher of Science magazine and the Science family of journals. In this role, he is at the centre of the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society.

Before joining AAAS in February 2015, Holt was a member of the US House of Representatives. He is therefore uniquely placed to talk about the relationship between science and policy.

“So often scientists do not think of the meta issues,” Holt said before this interview. “What’s necessary to support the enterprise of science and what is the ultimate purpose of this. What does science owe society?”

Here, he talks about his own journey from lab scientist to the corridors of power and suggests the kind of advice scientists can offer policymakers so as to seize opportunities, overcome problems of international collaboration and ultimately enable science to improve the quality of life for people around the world.

This interview was recorded last year at the 7th World Science Forum in Hungary.

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