News from the National Academies en-us News from the National Academies National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine Announce Initiative on Human Gene Editing The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine are launching a major initiative to guide decision making about controversial new research involving human gene editing. Human gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, may lead to promising new treatments for disease. However, recent experiments to attempt to edit human genes also have raised important questions about the potential risks and ethical concerns of altering the human germline. Future advances are likely to raise new questions. The initiative will include an international summit this fall to convene researchers and other experts to explore the scientific, ethical, and policy issues associated with human gene-editing research. In addition, a multidisciplinary, international committee will conduct a comprehensive study of the scientific underpinnings and clinical, ethical, legal, and social implications of human gene editing. The committee will consider and recommend standards, guidelines, and practices governing the use of gene-editing technologies in biomedical research and medicine. An advisory group to steer the overall initiative will soon be announced. Read More May 18, 2015 NAE Elects Foreign Secretary and Four Council Members The National Academy of Engineering has elected Ruth A. David, recently retired president and chief executive officer of Analytic Services Inc. (ANSER), to a four-year term as foreign secretary. David previously served as councillor from 2007 to 2013. Also elected to NAE's governing council for three-year terms are Anita K. Jones, university professor emerita at the University of Virginia; Richard H. Truly, retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and retired director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Wanda A. Austin, president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation; and John L. Anderson, president of Illinois Institute of Technology. All terms begin July 1.
May 11, 2015
FAA Should 'Reset Expectations' for Next Generation Air Transportation System The original vision for the Next Generation Air Transportation System is not what is being implemented today, and the Federal Aviation Administration should "reset expectations" for the program meant to modernize and transform the national airspace, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. The report recommends that FAA adopt a system architecture that supports decision making and provides a foundation for managing changes in technology and operations, and says it should incorporate cybersecurity and unmanned aircraft into its planning and design. Read More
May 1, 2015
Prime Minister of Japan Speaks at U.S. National Academy of Sciences NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a breakfast meeting this morning with several U.S. leaders in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. The meeting was co-hosted by Koji Omi, founder and chairman of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum, which holds a global conference of researchers, policymakers, and business leaders each year in Kyoto, Japan. Read More
April 30, 2015
Science Academies of G7 Nations Call for Action on Antibiotic Resistance, Tropical Diseases, and the Future of the Ocean Today the national science academies of the G7 countries issued three statements to their respective governments for discussion during the G7 summit to be held in Germany this June. The papers on antibiotic resistance, neglected and poverty-related diseases, and the future of the ocean were drawn up by the seven national academies under the aegis of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Read More
April 29, 2015
Phasing in Aquifer Storage and Recovery in the Everglades Could Help Answer Remaining Questions Although uncertainties about ecological impacts are too great to justify near-term, large-scale implementation of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) in the Everglades, ASR could be phased in to answer several important scientific questions and provide some early restoration benefits, says a report from the National Research Council. The report reviews a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District. Read More
April 29, 2015
IOM to Become National Academy of Medicine Today, the membership of the National Academy of Sciences voted to change the name of the Institute of Medicine to the National Academy of Medicine. Today's vote amends the NAS constitution to change the name effective July 1, 2015. This change is part of a broader internal reorganization to more effectively integrate the work of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Reports and studies on health and medicine will continue uninterrupted as activities of the Institute of Medicine, which will become one of the six program units operating under the direction of the integrated academies. The newly named National Academy of Medicine will continue to be an honorific society that inherits the more than 1,900 current elected members and foreign associates of the IOM. Read More
April 28, 2015
Academy Elects New Members, Foreign Associates The National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 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 28, 2015
Core Measures Identified to Assess the Nation's Health A new report from the Institute of Medicine presents 15 "vital signs" for tracking progress toward improved health and health care in the U.S. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report said the set of core measures should reduce the burden on clinicians of taking measurements, enhance transparency and comparability, and improve health outcomes nationwide. Read more
April 28, 2015
NAS Honors Award Winners During a ceremony at its 152nd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented the 2015 Public Welfare Medal to Neil deGrasse Tyson for his "extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science." NAS also honored 17 other individuals with awards for their outstanding scientific achievements. News Release - Public Welfare Medal News Release - Awards
April 27, 2015
NAS Annual Meeting Begins The National Academy of Sciences will hold its 152nd annual meeting from April 25 to 28. During the meeting, the Academy will elect new members, induct members elected in 2014, and present awards recognizing excellence in research or public service. Selected presentations and ceremonies will be video webcast. Follow the annual meeting activities on Twitter @theNASciences and join the annual meeting conversation #NAS152.
April 24, 2015
Highway Research and Innovation A new National Research Council report discusses the Federal Highway Administration's critical role in research, development, and technology to transform the nation's aging network of highways into one that is safer, more reliable, and more resilient.
April 23, 2015
New Report Recommends Ways to Improve Consumer Adoption of Plug-in Electric Vehicles Vehicle cost, current battery technology, and inadequate consumer knowledge are some of the barriers preventing widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. Developing less expensive, better performing batteries is essential to reducing overall vehicle cost, and a market strategy is needed to create awareness and overcome consumer uncertainty. The report recommends that the federal government refrain from additional direct investment in public charging infrastructure until more is known about the role of infrastructure in encouraging broader adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, but says that financial incentives to purchase such vehicles should extend beyond current production volume limits. Read More
April 22, 2015
Digital Curation Policies and Expertise Needed From distant satellites to medical implants, sensors are collecting unprecedented quantities of digital data across the scientific disciplines. Other sectors -- government, business, and health -- are collecting huge amounts of data and information as well. If accurate and accessible, such information has the potential to speed scientific discovery, spur innovation, inform policy, and support transparency. However, the policies, infrastructure, and workforce needed to manage this information have not kept pace with its rapid growth, says a new report from the National Research Council. Read More
April 22, 2015
Methods for Measuring Interprofessional Education's Impact on Health Outcomes Considerable research has focused on how well students learn when they are grouped from two or more from health or social care professions, known as interprofessional education. Recently researchers have started looking beyond the classroom for how interprofessional education affects patient safety, provider and patient satisfaction, quality of care, community health outcomes, and cost savings. Without a purposeful and more comprehensive system of engagement between the education and health care delivery systems, evaluating the impact of interprofessional education interventions on health and system outcomes will be difficult, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. More studies are needed to answer key questions about the effectiveness of interprofessional education, and a conceptual model would greatly enhance the description and purpose of such interventions and their potential impact.
April 22, 2015
New Report Recommends Ways to Strengthen the U.S. Optical and Infrared Astronomy System The U.S. ground-based optical and infrared astronomy system includes a combination of public and private facilities and a range of small-, medium-, and large-aperture telescopes and instruments that vary in sensitivity and functionality. A new report from the National Research Council recommends improvements in its observational, instrumentation, and data management capabilities and coordination among federal and private partners to better position the system to meet the objectives described in the Research Council's recent decadal surveys on astronomy and astrophysics and planetary science. Read More
April 17, 2015
Continued Maintenance and Management of Air Force Health Study Research Assets Congress should continue to support the maintenance of the Air Force Health Study data and biospecimens and to facilitate making them available to the scientific community as broadly as possible, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. In 1979, Congress directed that an epidemiologic study, formally called the Air Force Health Study (AFHS), evaluate the possible health effects related to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam conflict. After the study concluded, the research assets -- including biological samples and medical examination records from veterans and a comparison group -- were transferred to the custodianship of the IOM. A later public law instructed that the AFHS assets become available for scientifically peer-reviewed research studies. Because the AFHS has been accessible to the scientific community for less than three years, the vast majority of its potential is yet to be realized, the report says. It identifies two options for the continued maintenance and management of the AFHS assets.
April 17, 2015
Building Healthier Communities After Disasters U.S. communities and federal agencies should more intentionally seek to create healthier communities during disaster preparation and recovery efforts – something that rarely happens now, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. By adding a health "lens" to planning and recovery, a community can both mitigate the health damage caused by disasters and recover in ways that make the community healthier and more resilient than it was before. Read More
April 15, 2015
Report Recommends Three Actions to Help Promote Cognitive Health Gradual and variable change in mental functions that occurs naturally as people age, not as part of a neurological disease such as Alzheimer's disease, is one of the most challenging health issues encountered by older adults, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Known as "cognitive aging," the type and rate of change can vary widely among individuals. Some will experience very few, if any, effects, while others may experience changes in their memory, speed of processing information, problem solving, learning, and decision-making abilities. The report presents three top actions individuals can take to help maintain optimal cognitive function with age. Read More
April 14, 2015
Psychological Testing Would Strengthen Process for Social Security Disability Determination Broader use of standardized psychological testing for applicants submitting disability claims to the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) should improve the accuracy and consistency of disability determinations, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Some proponents of mandatory psychological testing, in particular validity testing, for SSA disability applicants argue that it would result in a significant reduction of individuals allowed onto the benefits rolls and a substantial cost savings. The study committee that wrote the report said the data necessary to accurately assess the effects on the rolls or calculate financial costs and benefits are limited, and estimates based on available data are subject to considerable error. However, the report provides a framework for evaluating the financial impact of implementing the committee’s recommendations. Read More
April 10, 2015
Hamburg Appointed as IOM Foreign Secretary Margaret A. (Peggy) Hamburg, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has been appointed the next foreign secretary of the Institute of Medicine. In this part-time position, Hamburg will serve as a senior adviser on international matters to the IOM president and council and as liaison to foreign academies of medicine and science. Her term begins today and runs through June 30, 2019. Read More
April 6, 2015
Report Offers Blueprint to Improve Professional Care and Education of Children From Birth to Age 8 Given that children's health, development, and early learning provide a critical foundation for lifelong progress, the workforce that provides care and education for children from birth through age 8 needs consistent, high-quality training to produce better outcomes for children, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. To build a workforce unified by a common knowledge base and necessary skills, the report offers a blueprint with specific actions for local, state, and national leaders in areas of higher education, professional learning during ongoing practice, policies for qualification requirements, and other standards for professional practice. Read More
April 1, 2015
New Report Describes Options for Providing Affordable Flood Insurance Premiums The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces dual challenges of maintaining affordable flood insurance premiums for property owners and ensuring that revenues from premiums and fees cover claims and program expenses over time. A new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council found that these objectives are not always compatible and may, at times, conflict with each another. The report discusses measures that could make insurance more affordable for all policy holders and provides a framework for policymakers to use in designing targeted assistance programs. Read More
March 26, 2015
Assessing Agent-Based Models for Tobacco Regulation The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broad regulatory authority over tobacco products and uses models as one tool to help guide policy. Recently, FDA has been exploring the usefulness of a particular modeling approach — agent-based models (ABM) — to inform its decisions. A new report from the Institute of Medicine says that ABMs are a useful tool and could add to the understanding of tobacco initiation, cessation, and relapse processes. While a particular ABM developed for FDA, titled Social Network Analysis for Policy on Directed Graph Networks, does not accurately represent many of the important characteristics of tobacco use, much can be learned from its development that could be applied to future models of tobacco use. Read More
March 25, 2015
U.S. Engineering Schools Commit to Educate 20,000 'Grand Challenge Engineers' In a letter of commitment presented to President Obama today, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. Read More
March 23, 2015
Raising Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes to at Least 21 Would Reduce Smoking Prevalence and Save Lives, Says IOM Increasing the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products would prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly those ages 15 to 17, and improve the health of Americans across the lifespan, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The committee that conducted the study estimated the likely reduction in tobacco-use initiation that would be achieved by raising the MLA to 19, 21, or 25, and used two tobacco-use simulation models to quantify the public health outcomes. Read More March 12, 2015 Review of VA Clinical Guidance Document for Camp Lejeune Legislation A new report from the Institute of Medicine offers recommendations to enhance a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs draft clinical guidance document intended to help health care providers determine whether a veteran or family member has a medical condition that is covered by the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The study committee that reviewed the document said that the VA has done a commendable job in dealing with a scientifically and administratively complex task.
March 11, 2015
New NAS Prize for Convergence Research The National Academy of Sciences announced today the creation of the new Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research. A generous gift from the Sacklers and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation will endow the prize, to be presented annually beginning this year with an inaugural $400,000 award. The prize will recognize significant advances in convergence research -- the integration of two or more of the following disciplines: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, biology, astronomy, earth sciences, engineering, and computational science -- for achievements possible only through such integration. This year's prize will be awarded for convergence research that benefits human health. Two-thirds of the prize money will be awarded to the selected researcher(s), and the remaining third will go to support the researcher's work.
March 5, 2015
Amid Challenges Facing Manufacturing Sector, U.S. Must Strengthen Innovation, Productivity, and Workforce Training Given that globalization, technological advances, and changing business practices are dramatically transforming employment and operations across the board in manufacturing, U.S. companies, government, and educators should partner to strengthen workforce training and improve innovation and productivity to ensure manufacturers are "making value" for customers, says a new report from the National Academy of Engineering. Making value is the process of using ingenuity to convert resources into goods, services, or processes that create solutions, serving the welfare of humanity and the needs of society. Read More
March 2, 2015
PNAS Announces Prize-Winning Papers The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has selected six papers from the more than 3,500 research articles published by the journal in 2014 to receive the Cozzarelli Prize, an award that recognizes scientific excellence and originality and outstanding contributions to the scientific disciplines represented by the National Academy of Sciences. The award was established in 2005 and named in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. Read More
Feb. 27, 2015
Neil deGrasse Tyson to Receive Public Welfare Medal, Academy's Most Prestigious Award In recognition of his extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science, the National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2015 Public Welfare Medal to astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. Established in 1914, the medal is the Academy's most prestigious award and is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Read More
Feb. 26, 2015
Possible Regulation of Cigarettes Not Likely to Significantly Change U.S. Illicit Tobacco Market Although there is insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about how the U.S. illicit tobacco market would respond to any new regulations that modify cigarettes -- for example, by lowering nicotine content -- limited evidence suggests that demand for illicit versions of conventional cigarettes would be modest, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.
Feb. 19, 2015
NAE Launches Next MacGyver Competition for New TV Series With Female Engineer Lead In celebration of National Engineers Week, the National Academy of Engineering and the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering, in collaboration with the MacGyver Foundation and Lee Zlotoff (creator of the TV series "MacGyver"), announced today the launch of a worldwide crowdsourcing competition called The Next MacGyver. Read More
Feb. 19, 2015
Proposed Climate Intervention Techniques Not Ready for Wide-Scale Deployment Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is still the most effective, least risky way to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, concludes a two-volume report from a National Research Council committee that evaluated proposed techniques to either remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or increase the ability of Earth or clouds to reflect incoming sunlight.Carbon dioxide removal and albedo-modification strategies have been grouped until now under the common term "geoengineering," but the committee believed the approaches are more accurately defined as "climate intervention" strategies, and found that the two classes of techniques vary widely with respect to environmental risks, socio-economic impacts, cost, and research needs. Currently proposed carbon dioxide removal strategies are limited by cost and technological immaturity, but they could contribute to a broader portfolio of climate change responses with further research and development. Albedo-modification technologies, however, pose significant risks and should not be deployed at this time. Watch the webcast
Feb. 10, 2015
ME/CFS Is a Legitimate Disease That Needs Proper Diagnosis, Treatment Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -- commonly referred to as ME/CFS -- is a legitimate, serious, and complex systemic disease that frequently and dramatically limits the activities of affected individuals, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The committee that wrote the report developed new diagnostic criteria for the disorder that includes five main symptoms. In addition, it recommended that the disorder be renamed “Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease” and be assigned a new code in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition. Watch the webcast
Feb. 10, 2015
National Academy of Sciences Elects Home Secretary and Councilors Susan R. Wessler, Distinguished Professor of Genetics in the department of botany and plant sciences at the University of California, Riverside, has been re-elected as home secretary for the National Academy of Sciences. Wessler will continue to be responsible for the membership activities of the Academy during her second four-year term beginning July 1.Four members have been elected to serve on the Academy's governing Council for three years beginning July 1. The new councilors are: Sylvia T. Ceyer, head, department of chemistry, and J.C. Sheehan Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jeffrey M. Friedman, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Marilyn M. Simpson Professor, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, The Rockefeller University; Susan Hanson, Distinguished University Professor Emerita, School of Geography, Clark University; and Peter S. Kim, member, Stanford ChEM-H and Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine. Read More Feb. 5, 2015 NAE Elects 67 Members and 12 Foreign Members The National Academy of Engineering has elected 67 new members and 12 foreign members, announced NAE President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr. today. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,263 and the number of foreign members to 221.Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. A list of the newly elected members and foreign members is available, with their primary affiliations at the time of election and a brief statement of their principal engineering accomplishments.
Feb. 5, 2015
MIT's Robert Langer Wins Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering A member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, Robert Langer has been awarded the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for his revolutionary advances and leadership in engineering at the interface with chemistry and medicine. Langer was the first person to engineer polymers to control the delivery of large molecular weight drugs for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and mental illness. Over 2 billion lives have been improved worldwide by the technologies that Langer's lab has created. The QEPrize is a global £1 million prize that celebrates engineers responsible for a ground-breaking innovation of global benefit to humanity. The prize was established to raise the public profile of engineering and inspire young people to become engineers.
Feb. 4, 2015
White Potatoes Should Be Allowed Under WIC The U.S. Department of Agriculture should allow white potatoes as a vegetable eligible for purchase with vouchers issued by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC), says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. If relevant changes occur in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendation should be re-evaluated. Read More
Feb. 3, 2015
DOE Should Maintain Sole Ownership of National Nuclear Security Administration Laboratories The U.S. Department of Energy should remain the sole sponsor of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories -- known collectively as the National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories -- but should also maintain a formally recognized strategic partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. intelligence community to help the NNSA labs understand the larger national security agenda and meet future national security needs, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report also identifies six key principles that any new governance model for the NNSA laboratories should observe.
Jan. 23, 2015
Sea-Level Rise, Geohazards Among Priorities for Ocean Science Research A new report from the National Research Council identifies priority areas for ocean science research in the next decade, including the rate and impacts of sea-level rise, the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, greater understanding of marine food webs, and better approaches for forecasting hazards such as mega-earthquakes and tsunamis. The report also recommends that the National Science Foundation rebalance its funding for ocean science research, which in recent years has shifted toward research infrastructure at the expense of core science programs. Read More
Jan. 23, 2015
Honoring Outstanding Achievement in Science Since 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding achievement in the physical, biological, and social sciences through its awards program. NAS will announce the 2015 winners of various awards in January. Results will also appear on Facebook and via Twitter.
Jan. 22, 2015
Review of California's Risk Assessment Process for Pesticides A new National Research Council report recommends several improvements the California Department of Pesticide Regulation could make to ensure its human health risk assessments for pesticides adhere to best practices.
Jan. 22, 2015
New Report Evaluates Technological Alternatives to Bulk Data Collection No software-based technique can fully replace the bulk collection of signals intelligence, but methods can be developed to more effectively conduct targeted collection and to control the usage of collected data, says a new report from the National Research Council. Automated systems for isolating collected data, restricting queries that can be made against those data, and auditing usage of the data can help to enforce privacy protections and allay some civil liberty concerns, it says.
Jan. 15, 2015
Report Proposes Professional Standards for Responsible Sharing of Clinical Trial Data Stakeholders in clinical trials should foster a culture in which data sharing is the expected norm and commit to responsible strategies aimed at maximizing the benefits, minimizing the risks, and overcoming the challenges of sharing data, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The report lays out recommended guidelines about which data from a clinical trial should be shared and when, such as the analytic data set that supports publication of results should be shared no later than six months after publication and the full analyzable data set should be shared no later than 18 months after study completion or 30 days after regulatory approval. Read More
Jan. 14, 2015
Review of NASA's Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks NASA asked the Institute of Medicine to provide independent reviews of more than 30 publicly available evidence reports on human health risks for long-duration and exploration space flight. A new letter report from IOM -- the second in a series of five -- examines seven evidence reports on the risk of adverse health effects due to: alterations in host-microorganism interactions; altered immune response; inadequate human-computer interaction; inadequate design of human and automation/robotic integration; incompatible vehicle/habitat design; inadequate critical task design; and performance errors resulting from training deficiencies.The IOM report examines the quality of evidence, analysis, and overall construction of each evidence report, identifies gaps in report content, and encourages NASA to adopt formatting standards for consistency among all the evidence reports.
Jan. 14, 2015
New Report Offers Framework to Analyze Consequences of Changes to Food System To aid U.S. policymakers and other stakeholders who make decisions about the nation's food system, a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council offers a framework for assessing the health, environmental, social, and economic effects of proposed changes to the system. Often, making a change that affects one part of the food system for one purpose has consequences -- intended or unintended -- for other parts of the system, the report says. Read More
Jan. 13, 2015
World's Largest Gathering of Transportation Professionals to Highlight Transformative Technologies Approximately 12,000 people from around the world -- including policymakers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, journalists, and representatives of government, industry, and academia -- will gather from Jan. 11-15 for the Transportation Research Board 94th Annual Meeting. For the first time, the event will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., and involve more than 5,000 transportation-related presentations at nearly 750 sessions and workshops covering all transportation modes. This year's spotlight theme is "Corridors to the Future: Transportation and Technology."
Jan. 9, 2015
Post-Vietnam Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated Aircraft Air Force reservists who worked after the Vietnam War in C-123 aircraft that sprayed Agent Orange during the war could have experienced adverse health effects from exposure to the herbicide, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The reservists who served in the contaminated C-123s experienced some degree of exposure to the toxic chemical component of Agent Orange known as TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin), and it is plausible, in some cases, that the reservists exceeded TCDD exposure guidelines for workers in enclosed settings. Read More
Jan. 9, 2015
Effective Implementation of Next Generation Science Standards Requires Consistency and Collaboration A new report released today by the National Research Council offers guidance to district and school leaders and teachers on necessary steps for putting the Next Generation Science Standards into practice over the next decade and beyond. The committee that wrote the report drew on A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, a 2011 Research Council report that served as the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards.
Jan. 8, 2015
National Academy of Engineering to Present $1.5 Million for Engineering's Highest Honors in 2015 The engineering profession's highest honors for 2015 recognize three outstanding achievements that have transformed lives around the world. Presented by the National Academy of Engineering, the awards honor the creators of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), the cochlear implant, and an innovative program to develop the leadership skills of engineers.Isamu Akasaki, M. George Craford, Russell Dupuis, Nick Holonyak Jr., and Shuji Nakamura will receive the Charles Stark Draper Prize -- a $500,000 annual award given to engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society -- "for the invention, development, and commercialization of materials and processes for light-emitting diodes (LEDs)."Blake S. Wilson, Graeme M. Clark, Erwin Hochmair, Ingeborg J. Hochmair-Desoyer, and Michael M. Merzenich will receive the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize -- a $500,000 biennial award recognizing a bioengineering achievement that significantly improves the human condition -- "for engineering cochlear implants that enable the deaf to hear."Simon Pitts and Michael B. Silevitch will receive the Bernard M. Gordon Prize -- a $500,000 annual award that recognizes innovation in engineering and technology education -- "for developing an innovative method to provide graduate engineers with the necessary personal skills to become effective engineering leaders," the Northeastern University Gordon Engineering Leadership Program. News ReleasesCharles Stark Draper Prize for EngineeringFritz J. and Dolores H. Russ PrizeBernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education
Jan. 8, 2015
Report Identifies Research Priorities to Sustainably Meet Demand for Animal Protein Meeting the expected growth in global demand for animal protein in a way that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable will require a greater investment in animal science research, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report identifies research priorities and recommends that governments and the private sector increase their support for this research. Read More
Jan. 7, 2015
Call for Nominations for 2015 Communication Awards The Keck Futures Initiative -- a program of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine -- is accepting nominations for the 2015 Communication Awards to recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the public during 2014. A $20,000 prize is awarded in each of the following categories: book; film, radio, or TV; magazine or newspaper; and online.Nominations must be submitted online no later than Feb. 9, 2015. The winners will be honored in the fall at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. For information on eligibility, submission requirements, and nomination procedures, visit
Jan. 7, 2015
Year in Review In 2014 the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council celebrated achievements, tackled new challenges, and provided guidance on a wide variety of issues related to science, engineering, and medicine. Read More
Dec. 31, 2014
Report Offers Considerations for Pilot Study on Analyzing Cancer Risks Near Nuclear Facilities Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning is a brief report from the National Academy of Sciences that provides an expert committee’s advice about general methodological considerations for carrying out a pilot study of cancer risks near seven nuclear facilities in the United States. The pilot study will assess the feasibility of two approaches that could be used in a nationwide study to analyze cancer risk near nuclear facilities regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Read more
Dec. 29, 2014
Free Software Tool Helps Prioritize Vaccine Development As infectious diseases emerge or re-emerge, new and improved vaccines are needed. The decisions about which vaccines should be developed first can affect millions of people's health, quality of life, and economic progress. Last year, the Institute of Medicine released version 1.0 of the Strategic Multi-Attribute Ranking Tool for Vaccines (SMART Vaccines), a software tool that allows those involved in vaccine research, development, and delivery to prioritize the vaccines most urgently needed in the U.S. and other countries. IOM in partnership with the National Academy of Engineering has updated SMART Vaccines and is releasing a new report that demonstrates its practical applications through case scenarios in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, New York State Department of Health, and the Serum Institute of India, and the Mexico Ministry of Health.
Dec. 19, 2014
Symposium Brings Together Scientists From U.S., Arab Nations Today marks the end of a three-day symposium in Muscat, Oman, where young scientists from the United States and Arab League countries shared research on a range of topics -- water reuse and desalination, hydraulic fracturing, and global food security, among others. The symposium was hosted by the Research Council of Oman and is part of the Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine program, which was launched by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine in 2011.The program brings together outstanding young scientists, engineers, and medical professionals from the U.S. and the 21 countries of the Arab League for a series of symposia where participants share their research, explore advances in their fields, and identify potential areas for collaboration. Learn more at the program's website or by watching a video about the initiative.
Dec. 15, 2014
Changes Needed to Improve the Experience of Postdoctoral Researchers A new report from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine urges significant changes to improve the postdoctoral training system in the United States. The postdoctoral experience should be refocused to have training and mentoring at its center. In addition, the salaries of postdoctoral researchers should be increased to reflect more accurately the value of their training and contribution to research. Read More
Dec. 10, 2014
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