News from the National Academies en-us News from the National Academies Winners of National Medals of Science, Technology Honored at Ceremony President Obama today honored the new class of National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners, several of whom are members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. These medals are the nation's highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. Read Oct. 3 announcement of winners  Nov. 20, 2014 U.S. and Indian Science Academies Examine Challenges Posed by Emerging Infections This week the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy are holding a three-day workshop in New Delhi to explore emerging infections, global health, and biological safety in the United States and India. In particular, the workshop will address challenges posed by infectious diseases, both within the countries and across national borders. The overall goals are to share challenges and lessons learned in these areas and to encourage collaborative partnerships among Indian and American scientists.
Nov. 19, 2014
Ebola Workshop Summarized in 10-Page Brief The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council today released a 10-page brief summarizing a workshop held on Nov. 3 that explored current knowledge of Ebola and priority research areas. Discussions took place at the event on observations and lessons from West Africa, transmission and routes of entry, survival and infectivity, personal protective equipment and behaviors, and waste handling and management. The brief recaps statements made by presenters or individual meeting participants. It does not necessarily represent the views of all meeting participants, the planning committee, the Institute of Medicine, or the National Research Council.
Nov. 14, 2014
Social and Behavioral Information for Electronic Health Records A new report from Institute of Medicine identifies 12 measures of social and behavioral information that should be included in all electronic health records (EHRs) to provide better patient care, improve population health, and enable more informative research. Four measures are already widely collected -- race/ethnicity, tobacco use, alcohol use, and residential address. The additional measures are education, financial resource strain, stress, depression, physical activity, social isolation, exposure to violence, and neighborhood median household income. While time will be needed to collect such data and act upon it, the committee that wrote the report concluded the health benefits of addressing these determinants outweigh the added burden to providers, patients, and health care systems.
Nov. 13, 2014
Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients Announced President Obama announced yesterday the names of 19 individuals who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony later this month. Among those to be honored is Mildred Dresselhaus, a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and "one of the most prominent physicists, materials scientists, and electrical engineers of her generation," the White House said. Economist Robert Solow, a National Academy of Sciences member and Nobel laureate, will also receive this highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Read More
Nov. 11, 2014
Uganda Meeting Focuses on Ownership of Africa's Development Agenda, Marks Culmination of ASADI The 10th Annual Meeting of African Science Academies, hosted this year by the Uganda National Academy of Sciences, began today in Kampala. The conference's theme focuses on country ownership of Africa's post-2015 development agenda, a topic addressed in a new report from several African science academies released at the meeting. A mindset shift is needed, the report says, for countries to take greater ownership of development goals such as the Africa Union's Agenda 2063 and the U.N.'s planned Sustainable Development Goals. It recommends catalysts for giving all sectors of society in Africa a greater stake in and responsibility for the continent's development agenda. The annual meeting also marks the culmination of the 10-year African Science Academy Development Initiative, a partnership of the U.S. National Academies and several counterparts in Africa aimed at strengthening the capacity of the African academies to inform policymaking through evidence-based advice. This effort is evaluated in a new report from the InterAcademy Council, a multinational organization of the world's science academies, which drew on lessons learned during the initiative to make recommendations about the future shape of science academies in Africa.
Nov. 10, 2014
Workshop to Inform Public Health Practices for Ebola As a result of the emergence of Ebola, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council hosted a public workshop to discuss research needed to best safeguard the U.S. public. The workshop provided a venue to explore immediate science needs to provide the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, public health officials, health care providers, and the general public with the most up-to-date and accurate information about the virus. Photos
Oct. 31, 2014
Report Calls for Greater Investment in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults Young adults ages 18-26 should be viewed as a separate subpopulation in policy and research, because they are in a critical period of development when successes or failures could strongly affect the trajectories of their lives, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. Young adults' brains and behaviors continue maturing into their 20s, and they face greater challenges achieving independence than their predecessors did, have lengthened pathways into adulthood, and are surprisingly unhealthy. The report reviews what is known about the health, safety, and well-being of young adults and offers recommendations for policy and research. Read More
Oct. 30, 2014
Institute of Medicine Names Four Anniversary Fellows for 2014 The Institute of Medicine has selected four outstanding health professionals for the class of 2014 IOM Anniversary Fellows. Each fellow will work with an IOM board and an expert study committee or roundtable related to his or her professional interests, including contributing to its reports or other products. Created in 2005 to celebrate IOM's 35th anniversary, the purpose of the IOM Anniversary Fellows Program is to enable talented, early career health science scholars to collaborate with eminent researchers, policy experts, and clinicians from across the country, participate actively in the work of the IOM, and further their careers as future leaders in the field. Read More
Oct. 20, 2014
IOM Presents Awards for Outstanding Achievements and Service The Institute of Medicine presented the Gustav O. Lienhard Award to Linda Aiken, Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, for her rigorous research demonstrating the importance of nursing care and work environments in achieving safe, effective, patient-centered, and affordable health care. Also, Vikram Patel, professor of international mental health and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and at the Public Health Foundation of India received the 2014 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health. In addition, IOM honored two of its members -- Dan G. Blazer and Richard B. Johnston Jr. -- for outstanding service to the institution. The awards were announced during IOM's 44th annual meeting.Lienhard News ReleaseSarnat News ReleaseService Awards News Release
Oct. 20, 2014
IOM Elects 70 New Members, 10 Foreign Associates The Institute of Medicine today announced the names of 70 new members and 10 foreign associates during its 44th annual meeting. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Video Webcast | Agenda Oct. 20, 2014 Workshop on 'Gain of Function' Research Announced The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine are organizing a public workshop on the potential risks and benefits of "gain of function" research that increases the pathogenicity or transmissibility of infectious agents such as SARS, MERS, or pandemic influenza. The workshop discussions will help inform deliberations of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. Read More
Oct. 17, 2014
Award Ceremony Honors Excellence in Science Communication The recipients of the 2014 Communication Awards were honored at a ceremony held last night at the historic National Academy of Sciences building. The winners were author Dan Fagin; NPR correspondent Rob Stein; New York Times science reporter Dennis Overbye; and Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman. These prestigious awards -- each of which includes $20,000 -- are presented annually by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine to recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. Photos from the award ceremony
Oct. 16, 2014
Harvey Fineberg Named President of Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Former Institute of Medicine President Harvey V. Fineberg has been selected by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as its next president, the foundation announced today. Fineberg served two terms as IOM's president, from 2002 until this summer. Before that, he was provost of Harvard University and served for 13 years as dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. Fineberg currently holds the presidential chair as a visiting professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He assumes his new post at the foundation on Jan. 1, 2015.
Oct. 13, 2014
Framework to Guide Assessment of Chemical Alternatives Chemicals used in consumer products and industrial processes have elicited concerns in recent years about health or environmental impacts, prompting manufacturers, retailers, and regulators to develop methods for evaluating potentially safer chemical substitutes. Although a number of assessment tools exist, they reflect a range of different priorities, such as protecting workers, the end user, or the environment.A new report from the National Research Council describes a decision framework for comparing chemicals in terms of human health and ecological risks that is more uniformly applicable for a diverse set of users while remaining flexible enough to be tailored to the specific decision being made. The framework draws on the strengths and common characteristics of existing assessment approaches, but also includes several advancements: problem formulation and scoping, comparative exposure assessment, and evaluation of physicochemical properties. Read More Register for Public Webinar
Oct. 10, 2014
Super Typhoon Intensifies in Pacific Super Typhoon Vongfong has rapidly intensified from the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane to a monster typhoon with peak wind speeds of 190 mph. Based on estimates of its central pressure, Vongfong is now the most intense storm so far in 2014, and forecast models suggest it could rival the intensity of last year's deadly Typhoon Haiyan. In the United States, local, state, and federal leaders as well as community groups and businesses are working to strengthen the nation's resilience to natural disasters and adverse events. Learn what the National Academies are doing to help advance the resilience conversation.
Oct. 8, 2014
NAS Member Shares 2014 Nobel in Chemistry National Academy of Sciences member William E. Moerner has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Eric Betzig and Stefan W. Hell "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy," more commonly known as nanoscopy.
Oct. 8, 2014
NAE Members Share Nobel Prize in Physics National Academy of Engineering member Shuji Nakamura and foreign member Isamu Akasaki, together with Hiroshi Amano, have won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the blue light-emitting diode (LED).
Oct. 7, 2014
NAS Foreign Associates Receive Nobel Prize in Medicine Norwegian husband and wife Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser along with U.S.-British scientist John O'Keefe have won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain. The Mosers are foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences.
Oct. 6, 2014
Report Urges Caution in Handling Eyewitness Identifications, Recommends Best Practices A new report from the National Research Council recommends best practices that law enforcement agencies and courts should follow to improve the likelihood that eyewitness identifications used in criminal cases will be accurate. Science has provided an increasingly clear picture of the inherent limits in human visual perception and memory that can lead to errors, as well as the ways unintentional cues during law enforcement processes can compromise eyewitness identifications, the report says. Read More | Listen to the Briefing
Oct. 2, 2014
Prominent Speakers Address Annual Meeting The National Academy of Engineering's 2014 annual meeting featured an address by NAE President C.D. Mote Jr., as well as a discussion on innovation and engineering from distinguished speakers NAS/NAE/IOM member Frances H. Arnold, California Institute of Technology's Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biochemistry and a winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation; Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior; and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google Inc. President Mote's speech is available online; a video of the plenary discussion will be available soon.
Sept. 29, 2014
NAE Announces Winning Videos During its annual meeting, NAE announced the winners of the Engineering For You Video Contest. In celebration of NAE's 50th anniversary, the contest invited participants to submit a 1-2 minute video showing engineering's impact on society in the last 50 years and to project its contributions in the next 50 years. A judging committee chaired by Rob Cook, Pixar Animation Studios' emeritus vice president of advanced technology, selected the winning videos from more than 600 submissions. Learn more about the winners and their videos.
Sept. 28, 2014
U.S. Health System Not Properly Designed to Meet the Needs of Patients Nearing End of Life The U.S. health care system is not properly designed to meet the needs of patients nearing the end of life and those of their families, and major changes to the system are necessary, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The committee that wrote the report envisioned an approach to end-of-life care that integrates traditional medical care and social services and that is high-quality, affordable, and sustainable. The committee called for more "advance care planning" by individuals, for improved training and credentialing for clinicians, and for federal and state governments and private sectors to provide incentives to patients and clinicians to discuss end-of-life issues.
Sept. 17, 2014
Improving Health Infrastructure Across Nations Key to Maintaining Successful Programs Without attention to the management, financing, and infrastructure that support health services in low- and middle-income countries, it will not be possible to maintain the progress of global health programs, such as the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and response efforts to widespread pandemics, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. For example, malaria eradication efforts may have failed because case surveillance was not integrated into primary care. The report says an aid strategy that emphasizes research and training, global public goods, efficient management, and rigorous program evaluation would go far to improving the health infrastructure in these countries and to making good use of the proportionately decreasing prominence of U.S. assistance in national health budgets.
Sept. 16, 2014
NAS Gulf Research Program Announces Strategic Vision and Initial Opportunities A new strategic vision document released today by the National Academy of Sciences' Gulf Research Program describes the long-term goals, objectives, and strategies for the program and will guide its scope of work over the next five years (2015-2020). In addition, the program announced that its initial, short-term activities, to be funded in 2015, will include exploratory grants, early-career research fellowships, and science policy fellowships. The $500 million, 30-year program to be run by NAS -- an independent, nonprofit institution -- was established at the request of the U.S. government as part of the criminal settlements related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. Focused on human health, environmental protection, and safety of oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico and the United States' Outer Continental Shelf, the program will support research and development, education and training, and environmental monitoring.
Sept. 15, 2014
EPA Should Incorporate Sustainability Approaches More Broadly A broad array of tools is available to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency incorporate sustainability concepts into its decision making, and the agency should do so across its spectrum of activities, says a new report from the National Research Council. For every major decision, EPA should include a strategy to assess implications for the three dimensions of sustainability -- environmental, social, and economic -- in an integrated manner. EPA should also collaborate with private-sector companies and non-government organizations (NGOs), leveraging their insights and experiences with sustainability. Read more
Sept. 10, 2014
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation Wins Best Book Award From National Academies; <br />NPR, New York Times, and Seattle Times Also Take Top Prizes<br /> The recipients of the 2014 Communication Awards were announced today by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. Supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation since 2003 as part of the Keck Futures Initiative, these prestigious awards -- each of which includes a $20,000 prize -- recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. The winners were selected from a record 335 entries for works issued in 2013. Read more
Sept. 9, 2014
Resilient America Roundtable Announces Pilot Projects to Build Disaster Resilience in Charleston, South Carolina, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa At a workshop today in Washington, D.C., the National Research Council&rsquo;s Resilient America Roundtable announced its first two American communities that will be the focus of pilot projects to develop a community disaster resilience strategy, based on the Research Council report Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. The two communities are Charleston, South Carolina, and Linn County/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.Over an initial two-year period, Resilient America Roundtable teams will work with decision makers, local organizations, businesses, and citizens in Charleston and Cedar Rapids to better understand the risks each community faces and design strategies to bolster resilience to these risks. Lessons learned in each of the pilot communities will be shared broadly with other communities across the nation.&ldquo;These pilot projects offer us an exciting opportunity to bring science into communities to help them build their own community disaster resilience strategies,&rdquo; said Lauren Alexander Augustine, director of the Resilient America Roundtable. For more information on the pilot projects and the Resilient America Roundtable, visit the Roundtable&rsquo;s website.
Sept. 5, 2014
Formaldehyde Confirmed as Known Human Carcinogen A new report from the National Research Council has upheld the listing of formaldehyde as &quot;known to be a human carcinogen&quot; in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC). The committee that wrote the Research Council report found that the listing is supported by sufficient evidence from human studies that indicate a causal relationship between exposure to the chemical and at least one type of human cancer. It reached the same conclusion after conducting both a peer review of the RoC and an independent assessment of the formaldehyde literature.
Aug. 8, 2014
National Academies Host Symposium on Science, Technology, and Innovation for Development in Africa While President Obama hosts the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine are holding a symposium to explore the role of science, technology, and innovation in advancing development and economic growth in Africa. &nbsp;The webcast has ended. A recording will be available online at a later date.Follow the conversation on Twitter at #AfricaSciDev
Aug. 5, 2014
Strong, Positive Safety Culture in Chemical Labs Requires Support From All Levels Within Research Institutions Everyone involved in the academic chemical research enterprise -- from researchers and principal investigators to university leadership -- has an important role to play in establishing and promoting a strong, positive safety culture, says a new report from the National Research Council. This requires a constant commitment to safety organization-wide and emphasis on identifying and solving problems, rather than merely adhering to a set of rules and assigning blame when those rules are not followed. Read More
July 31, 2014
$15 Billion Annual Public Financing System for Physician Training Needs Overhaul The U.S. should significantly reform the federal system for financing physician training and residency programs to ensure that the public's $15 billion annual investment is producing the doctors that the nation needs, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine. Current financing -- provided largely through Medicare -- requires little accountability, allocates funds independent of workforce needs or educational outcomes, and offers insufficient opportunities to train physicians in the health care settings used by most Americans. Read More
July 29, 2014
Styrene Reasonably Anticipated to Be a Human Carcinogen, New Report Confirms A new report from the National Research Council has upheld the listing of styrene as &quot;reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen&quot; in the National Toxicology Program's 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC). The committee that wrote the report found that the listing is supported by &quot;limited but credible&quot; evidence of carcinogenicity in human studies, &quot;sufficient&quot; evidence from animal studies, and &quot;convincing relevant information&quot; in mechanistic studies that observed DNA damage in human cells that had been exposed to styrene. The committee reached the same conclusion after conducting both a peer review of the RoC and an independent assessment of the styrene literature. Read More
July 28, 2014
Lessons Learned From 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Accident A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the overarching lesson from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is that nuclear plant licensees and regulators must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards with the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants. The committee that wrote the report examined the causes of the accident and made recommendations for improving nuclear plant safety and offsite emergency responses to nuclear plant accidents in the U.S. Read More
July 24, 2014
National Vision Needed to Reduce Risk Along East and Gulf Coasts In recent years, an increase in the population and property located along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts has contributed to a dramatic rise in storm-related losses. Climate change poses additional threats to these coastal communities due to sea-level rise and possible increases in the strength of the most intense hurricanes. Because the vast majority of funding associated with coastal storms comes from the federal government -- and often only after a disaster occurs -- property owners and local and state governments have few incentives not to develop or rebuild in high-risk areas.A new report from the National Research Council recommends a national vision for coastal risk reduction that includes a long-term view, regional rather than project-based solutions, and consideration of the wide array of economic, environmental, and social benefits that come from risk management efforts. To support this vision, a national risk assessment is needed to identify coastal areas that face the greatest threats and are high priorities for risk-reduction efforts. Read More&nbsp;| Slides
July 23, 2014
Too Soon for 3-D Printing to Significantly Enhance Space Operations, Report Says A new report from the National Research Council discusses the role additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3-D printing, could have in future space and aerospace missions. Both NASA and the Air Force are exploring the possibility of putting this technology to use, and although 3-D printing is a fairly mature technology, the report concludes that its application in space is extremely limited. The vacuum of space, zero gravity, and intense thermal fluctuations are a few of the harsh environmental obstacles the technology will need to overcome. In addition, the high costs of equipment operation, maintenance, and infrastructure platforms must also be considered in the cost-benefit equation. The report looks beyond production costs as the sole criterion for evaluating the benefits of space-based 3-D printing, however, and highlights the potential value of creating structures and functionalities not feasible without this technology. The committee that wrote the report recommends NASA and the Air Force cooperate across multiple levels, especially when utilizing the International Space Station for research. Read More3D Printing in Space Infographic
July 18, 2014
Science Fellows Celebrate 10 Years The Jefferson Science Fellowship program held a gathering July 15 at the National Academy of Sciences building to celebrate the program's 10-year anniversary. Administered by the National Academies, the program supports university faculty on one-year assignments at the U.S. Department of State or USAID, where they serve as science and technology advisers on foreign policy issues, often traveling to U.S. embassies and missions overseas.
July 15, 2014
New Institute of Medicine President Takes Office Victor J. Dzau -- an internationally recognized trailblazer in translational research, health innovation, and global health care strategy and delivery -- begins his new role as president of the Institute of Medicine today. Dzau takes the helm at IOM after serving nearly 10 years as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and CEO for Duke University Health System. Before that, Dzau held influential posts with Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Stanford University.In announcing Dzau's appointment, NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone said, &quot;Victor Dzau is an internationally acclaimed leader and scientist whose work has improved health care in the United States and globally. Under his direction, the Institute of Medicine will continue to advance research and improve health by providing objective, evidence-based guidance on critical issues.&quot; &quot;As a physician-scientist and leader in academic medicine,&quot; said outgoing IOM president Harvey V. Fineberg, &quot;Victor has consistently demonstrated inspirational leadership, innovative thinking, and multifaceted achievement. Now, all of us at the IOM, both members and staff, will benefit more fully from his leadership.&quot; Fineberg, who served 12 years as IOM's president, is joining the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, for a one-year appointment as a presidential chair and will focus on global health policy and analysis.
July 1, 2014
Improving DOD Engagement in International Science and Technology To remain globally competitive in science and technology (S&amp;T), the U.S. Department of Defense should develop an implementable strategy to improve its awareness of the global S&amp;T landscape and identify opportunities for collaboration, says a new report from the National Research Council. Read More
June 30, 2014
Despite Advances in Planning, Everglades Restoration Impeded by Financial and Policy Constraints A new congressionally mandated National Research Council report finds that while planning for Everglades restoration projects has advanced considerably over the past two years, project implementation has been impeded by financial, procedural, and policy constraints. The report is the fifth in a series of biennial reviews of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a multibillion dollar project launched in 2000 with the goal of reversing the ecosystem's decline. This most recent evaluation finds that restoration progress to date has been moderate and focused largely on the edges of the Everglades.The impacts of climate change -- especially sea-level rise -- provide further incentive to accelerate restoration efforts, the report adds. Timely project authorization, adequate funding levels, and creative policy and implementation strategies are needed to achieve restoration benefits.
June 27, 2014
Winners of 2014 Essay Contest Announced The National Academy of Engineering announced today the winners of its 2014 EngineerGirl essay competition. This year's contest was held as the NAE celebrates its 50th anniversary and asked students in grades three to 12 to describe how engineering has addressed societal needs in the past 50 years and suggest ways that engineering will impact society in the next 50 years in one of the following areas: nutrition, health, communication, education, and transportation. Read More
June 24, 2014
Effectiveness of PTSD Treatment Provided by DOD and VA Unknown The U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should track the outcomes of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder provided to patients and develop a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to do so, says a new congressionally mandated report from the Institute of Medicine. Without tracking outcomes, neither DOD nor VA knows whether it is providing effective or adequate PTSD care, for which they spent $294 million and more than $3 billion, respectively, in 2012. Read More
June 20, 2014
Assessing the Design of the National Children's Study While the National Children's Study (NCS) could add immensely to knowledge about children's health and development, and while the study's proposed design has several strengths, the design needs stronger scientific rationale and further development of several key aspects such as sampling and measurement strategies, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Read More
June 16, 2014
Assessing FAA's Staffing Processes for Air Traffic Controllers The Federal Aviation Administration's models for determining air traffic controller staffing needs are suitable for developing initial estimates of the number of controllers required at terminal areas and airport towers, but the models used to staff centers controlling air traffic between airports can be improved, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. As a matter of priority, FAA should implement an enhanced scheduling tool for all facilities that incorporates fatigue mitigation strategies. Read More
June 13, 2014
Green Growth in Portugal On June 11 the National Research Council welcomed Jorge Moreira da Silva, Portugal's minister of environment, spatial planning, and energy, who spoke about his country's efforts to move beyond economic crisis while growing in a sustainable way. In discussions with other European nations, Portugal has advocated goals of obtaining 40 percent of energy from renewable sources, reducing greenhouse gases by 40 percent, and increasing energy efficiency by 30 percent by the year 2030. The event also hosted panelists from Portuguese industry and research institutes, who explained the country's efforts to support electric vehicles, smart grids, and renewable energy such as floating wind power and wave power. Closing remarks were made by the U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe and Portugal's Secretary of State for Energy, Artur Trindade.The event was held by the Research Council's Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability Series, a seminar series for early-career professionals who are interested in building bridges with peers in D.C.-area agencies and organizations around sustainability efforts.
June 12, 2014
Report Examines Military Research on Health Effects of Low-level Radiation The Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) carries on a robust program of research on the biological and health effects of ionizing radiation exposure, but it is not substantively advancing research on health risks arising from exposure to low-level radiation, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. However, AFRRI's unique infrastructure, which would be difficult to reproduce elsewhere, positions it to contribute to low-level radiation research.
June 11, 2014
Substantial Scientific and Technical Advances Needed for Microbial Forensics Much as human DNA can be used as evidence in criminal trials, genetic information about microorganisms can be analyzed to identify pathogens or other biological agents in the event of a suspicious disease outbreak. The tools and methods used to investigate such outbreaks belong to an emerging discipline known as microbial forensics, but the field faces substantial scientific and technical challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report offers an initial set of research priorities for advancing the capabilities needed to make microbial forensics a more effective tool for identifying and attributing the sources of biothreats. Many of these challenges are shared by other disciplines, such as medicine and public health, so bridging the gaps in microbial forensics could also strengthen capabilities and knowledge in these other areas. Read More
June 6, 2014
Report Outlines Research Needs for Safe and Efficient Use of Increasingly Autonomous Aircraft Civil aviation is on the threshold of potentially revolutionary changes with the emergence of increasingly autonomous unmanned aircraft, but barriers to their incorporation into the existing aviation system remain, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report recommends a research agenda to help overcome these hurdles. Read More
June 5, 2014
NASA Should Focus on Mars as "Horizon Goal" for Human Space Exploration The expense of human spaceflight and the dangers it poses to the astronauts involved can be justified only by the goal of putting humans on other worlds, concludes a new report from the National Research Council. Currently, the only technologically feasible destinations for human spaceflight are the moon, asteroids, Mars, and the moons of Mars. The report recommends that NASA pursue a &quot;pathway&quot; approach, which encompasses executing a series of missions to one or more of these destinations as intermediate accomplishments toward the &quot;horizon goal&quot; of putting humans on Mars. While the report does not recommend a particular pathway to pursue, it found that returning to the moon would make significant contributions toward a Mars landing and would provide opportunities for international and commercial cooperation. The success of this pathway approach would require sustained national commitment, international collaboration, and a budget that increases by more than the rate of inflation, the report says. Read More&nbsp;| Video Report Summary&nbsp;| Video Webcast
June 4, 2014
Members Awarded 2014 Kavli Prizes Five members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of whom is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, were among the nine winners of the 2014 Kavli Prizes announced today.MIT's Alan H. Guth and Stanford's Andrei D. Linde, both NAS members, will share the prize in the field of astrophysics with a third scientist, Alexei Starobinsky from the Russian Academy of Sciences, &quot;for pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation.&quot;Sir John Pendry, an NAS foreign associate with the UK's Imperial College London, will share the award in nanoscience with France's Thomas W. Ebbesen and Germany's Stefan W. Hell &quot;for their transformative contributions to the field of nano-optics.&quot;McGill University's Brenda Milner, an NAS foreign associate, and Washington University's Marcus E. Raichle, a joint NAS/IOM member, will share the prize in neuroscience with the UK's John O'Keefe &quot;for the discovery of specialized brain networks for memory and cognition.&quot; The Kavli Prizes are awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Laureates in each category -- astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience -- share a cash reward of $1 million.
May 29, 2014
The Importance of STEM Education At the 2014 White House Science Fair, new steps to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education were announced as part of the president's Educate to Innovate campaign.The Academies have produced dozens of expert reports on this topic, including a recent report that focused on integrating STEM disciplines in K-12 education and what would most likely lead to positive learning outcomes. Also important,&nbsp;STEM learning outside the classroom in informal and after-school settings is the subject of a June 3-4 workshop.
May 27, 2014
NIH Accepts IOM's Recommendations Regarding RAC Last December, the Institute of Medicine released a report that finds in most cases human gene transfer research no longer requires additional review from the National Institutes of Health's Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, known as RAC, because these reviews do not provide benefits beyond the existing regulatory and oversight framework. Today NIH announced that it accepts the report's recommendations and a proposal to implement this revised review process will be published in the Federal Register with opportunity for public comment. NIH Director Francis S. Collins noted, &quot;Given the progress in the field, I am confident that the existing regulatory authorities can effectively review most gene transfer protocols and that a streamlined process will reduce duplication and delays in getting gene transfer trials initiated. Issues of concern that may arise in exceptional cases can still be addressed by consulting the expertise of the RAC.&quot;
May 22, 2014
Holder Cites Findings of New Report At a symposium of the National Association of Attorneys General, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the new National Research Council report on the growth of incarceration in the United States. Holder called it a &quot;landmark study&quot; that brings into sharp focus the importance of efforts to make the criminal justice system more efficient and effective. Video Clip | Full Speech
May 8, 2014
Spurring Innovation with Convergent Research Convergent research - which integrates tools and knowledge from the life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and other fields - could spur innovation and help tackle societal challenges, but greater national coordination is needed, says a new National Research Council report.
May 7, 2014
National Climate Assessment The U.S. Global Change Research Program released the third national climate assessment, which finds impacts related to climate change are already evident in many sectors. A panel of the National Academy of Sciences was among the reviewers of the national climate assessment. Read more about the National Academy of Sciences' work related to climate change, including a recent overview conducted jointly with the Royal Society, and a study on the likelihood of abrupt impacts of climate change.
May 6, 2014
Substantial Improvements Made in EPA's IRIS Program In 2011, the National Research Council reviewed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment for formaldehyde and found deficiencies both in that particular assessment as well as more broadly in EPA's general assessment methods. Congress directed EPA to implement the report's general recommendations into the IRIS process, and then tasked the Research Council with assessing the changes that were made.The new congressionally mandated Research Council report found that changes EPA has both implemented and proposed constitute &quot;substantial improvements&quot; to the IRIS program. The report offers further guidance and recommendations to build on the progress that has been made to improve the overall scientific and technical performance of the program. Read More
May 6, 2014
New Report Details Basics of Cybersecurity for Decision Makers Cybersecurity is a never-ending battle, and a permanently decisive solution to the problem will not be found in the foreseeable future, concludes a new report from the National Research Council. Written for a lay audience, the report presents the fundamental issues at the nexus of public policy and cybersecurity and is written to help decision makers and the interested public make informed choices about cybersecurity. Read more
May 5, 2014
New Report Recommends U.S. Revises Policies to Reduce Incarceration Rates Given the minimal impact of long prison sentences on crime prevention and the negative social consequences and burdensome financial costs of U.S. incarceration rates, which have more than quadrupled in the last four decades, the nation should revise current criminal justice policies to significantly reduce imprisonment rates, says a new report from the National Research Council. A comprehensive review of data led the committee that wrote the report to conclude that the costs of the current rate of incarceration outweigh the benefits. Read More
April 30, 2014
Academy Elects New Members, Foreign Associates The National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members and&nbsp;21 foreign associates from&nbsp;15 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the Academy is widely regarded as one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Read More
April 29, 2014
Changes in Arctic Systems Give Rise to Emerging Research Questions The climate, ecosystems, and communities of the Arctic are changing rapidly in complex ways that have implications throughout the region and, increasingly, around the globe. A new report from the National Research Council presents emerging research questions that come to the forefront because they address newly recognized phenomena, make use of new technology or avenues of accessibility, or build on recent research results and insights. The report also identifies the key resources and strategies for addressing emerging research questions, including interdisciplinary, international, interagency, and private-sector cooperation; improved operational and human capacity; long-term observations; and sustained investment in Arctic research. Read more
April 29, 2014
NAS Honors Award Winners During a ceremony at its 151st annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented the 2014 Public Welfare Medal to John E. Porter, former member of Congress, partner in the law firm Hogan Lovells, and chair of Research!America &quot;in recognition of decades of advocacy on behalf of scientific and medical research.&quot; NAS honored 15 other individuals as well for their outstanding scientific achievements. News Release - Public Welfare MedalNews Release - Awards
April 28, 2014