News from the National Academies en-us News from the National Academies 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. As these announcements are made, links will be provided below as well as on Facebook and via Twitter.Winners in Physical Sciences and EngineeringWinners in Neuroscience and Psychological and Cognitive SciencesWinners in Earth and Space SciencesWinners in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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