Here we take a look at what Obama has pledged over the lengthy presidential campaign, to see what his administration will mean for science and technology.
In September, Obama unveiled a comprehensive Science and Technology Policy (pdf).
In it he promised to lead a new era of scientific innovation in America and to restore integrity to US science policy. This would be achieved by doubling the federal investment in basic research and by addressing the "grand challenges" of the 21st century, he said. The rhetoric gained him the public endorsement of 61 Nobel laureates.
Obama lacks a science background, though, and over the past 50 years it has been Republican, rather than Democratic administrations, that have tended to spend more on science. Whether Obama and his team can buck this trend in the current dire financial situation remains to be seen.
Although he consulted a range of Nobel prize winners during his presidential campaign, it is also crucial that Obama chooses his presidential scientific adviser early in his term, Joanne Carney of the American Association for the Advancement of Science told New Scientist in September.
"Having the science adviser in place early is going to be critical," Carney said. "It means that an individual can play a role in placing other key scientists throughout the federal agencies."
The outgoing Bush administration took 10 months to appoint John Marburger as the presidential science adviser – a position that didn't exist until Russia sent Sputnik into space 50 years ago.
By the time Marburger took up his post the president had already made clear his position on stem cells and climate change, leaving his new adviser with few decisions to make.
To the heavens
We already have some idea of Obama's own position on the big scientific issues – at the beginning of September he answered 14 questions posed by a consortium of scientific organisations.
Obama promised to lift the current ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and support recommendations on genetic engineering as proposed by the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.
Technology could benefit under the Obama administration too, with promises to re-establish the National Aeronautics and Space Council – scrapped in 1993 by George Bush senior. The move would "expand our reach into the heavens and improve life here on Earth," said Obama.
Obama's attitude to the problem of climate change appeals to many in the scientific community – he aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and expand research funding into energy resources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Health of the nation
Obama's policy on healthcare will be among the most carefully scrutinised. The US spends twice as much per head on healthcare as many other developed nations, but has little extra benefit to show for it.
With a healthcare bill that currently stands at over $2 trillion per year and is rising rapidly, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the US's health spending will soar to 49% of GDP in 2082 – it currently stands at 16%.
Shannon Brownlee, a specialist in health policy with the New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank in Washington DC, told New Scientist that the antidote to soaring costs is more research into the comparative effectiveness of medical interventions.
That, coupled with greater use of electronic medical records and information technology, could help reduce the likelihood of duplicated diagnostic tests and minimise errors in drug prescribing.
Obama has already pledged billions of dollars for such systems, and supports further biomedical research into disease and responses to bioterror attacks.
For too long the US has "[reduced] support for science at a time when many other nations are increasing it," Obama said in September. "A situation that already threatens our leadership in many critical areas of science."
That comment prompted New Scientist to wonder whether Obama feared America was falling behind in the scientific rat-race.
Whether or not Obama's scientific motives are to improve the world we live in, or to play science and technology catch-up with the other leading nations, the new US president has certainly been making the right noises for those that value science and technology. Now we have to wait and see if he can deliver.