About the National Academies

The U.S. government's need for an independent adviser on science and technology matters became evident by the height of the Civil War. On March 3, 1863, President Lincoln approved the congressional charter which created that adviser, the National Academy of Sciences.

The private, nonprofit Academy has counseled the federal government in wartime and peacetime ever since. As science and technology issues have grown in complexity and scope, so too has the Academy. Four separate but related entities continue this work.


THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (NAS) is a society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, and dedicated to the use of science and technology for the public welfare. In addition to its role as adviser to the federal government, the Academy sponsors symposia, monitors human rights abuses against scientists worldwide, promotes the public understanding of science, and publishes a research journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ralph J. Cicerone, President
Bruce Darling, Executive Officer
James Hinchman, Deputy Executive Officer


THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING (NAE) is an association of outstanding engineers from industry and academia. Established in 1964 under NAS' charter, NAE is autonomous in its administration and selection of its members. It shares with NAS responsibility for advising the federal government. It also conducts studies of policy issues in engineering and technology, encourages education and research, and grants awards to distinguished engineers.

C.D. Mote Jr., President
Lance Davis, Executive Officer


THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE (IOM) is an association of eminent health care professionals and experts in related fields. Established by NAS in 1970, IOM examines policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. It shares responsibilities with NAS and NAE for advising the federal government. It also undertakes studies on its own initiative, addressing issues of health care, health sciences, and education.

Harvey V. Fineberg, President
Clyde Behney, Acting Executive Officer


THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL, founded in 1916, has become the principal administrative arm of NAS, NAE, and IOM. The Council's staff convenes study committees for the NAS and NAE, and most of the studies appear under the Council's name. The IOM convenes its own committees, following the same quality assurance procedures used by the Council.

In addition to conducting studies, the National Research Council brings together scientists, engineers, and educators to set priorities and encourage self-examination and improvement within their professions. It also works to improve science and math education at all levels, from kindergarten through doctoral programs.

Ralph J. Cicerone, Chair
C.D. Mote Jr., Vice Chair
Bruce Darling, Executive Officer
James Hinchman, Deputy Executive Officer