The Franklin Institute has teamed with Science Debate 2008, The Council on Competitiveness, and several Pennsylvania universities to host a presidential debate dedicated to the economy and technology, climate change, health policy, and education. The debate is set for April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, four days before the Pennsylvania primary. The live event will be televised and also archived on the Science Debate web site, www.sciencedebate2008.com.

Among the leaders calling for the debate is Intel chairman Craig Barrett. “This is not a niche debate,” says Barrett. “The future economic success of the United States depends on outperforming the competition with smart people and smart ideas. Without the best education system and aggressive investments in basic research and development, we will become a second rate economic power.”

Organized by a couple of out of work screenwriters, ScienceDebate2008.com signers now include more than 35,000 scientists, engineers, and concerned citizens, 140 leading American universities and other organizations in the field of health, science, technology, the environment, engineering, and education representing 125 million Americans. The initiative is cosponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the Council on Competitiveness, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.