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- Science, Dec. 14, 2018

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Dec. 13, 2018


©gradyreese/iStock.com

Higher education leaders, policymakers, and the private sector should take a range of actions to strengthen STEM programs and degree attainment in the nation's Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. MSIs are an underutilized resource for producing talent to fulfill the needs of the current and future U.S. STEM workforce, the report says. It identifies strategies to support the long-term success of MSI students in STEM fields.




Dec. 13, 2018


©LV4260/iStock.comAlong with participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project – a large, international burning plasma experiment – the U.S. Department of Energy should start a national program of accompanying research and technology to build a compact pilot plant that produces electricity from fusion at the lowest possible capital cost, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report provides a strategic plan to guide implementation of the main recommendations.



Dec. 12, 2018


Collaborations of Consequence: NAKFI’s 15 Years Igniting Innovation at the Intersections of Disciplines, a new publication from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, summarizes the results of the Futures Initiative, a program supported by a 15-year, $40 million grant the W.M. Keck Foundation to advance the future of science, engineering, and medicine through interdisciplinary research.



Dec. 12, 2018


The of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced it will award up to $10 million through a new funding opportunity to support research projects that will advance understanding and facilitate improvement of safety culture in the offshore oil and gas industry.



Dec. 6, 2018


©alohalika/iStock.comMost of the alternative technologies to open burning and open detonation (OB/OD) of conventional munitions designated for disposal are mature, including contained burn and contained detonation chambers with pollution control equipment, and many are permitted to replace OB/OD of waste munitions, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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Dec. 6, 2018


©wellesenterprises/iStock.comThe future of the U.S. Interstate Highway System is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of structural and operational deficiencies and by various looming challenges, such as the progress of automated vehicles, developments in electric vehicles, and vulnerabilities due to climate change. Unless a commitment is made to remedy the system's deficiencies and prepare for these oncoming challenges, there is a real risk that the nation's interstates will become increasingly unreliable and congested, far more costly to maintain, less safe, incompatible with evolving technology, and vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies. The report calls for a 20-year "blueprint for action," which includes creating an Interstate Highway System Renewal and Modernization Program, increasing the federal fuel tax to help pay for it, and allowing tolls and per-mile charges on more interstate routes.



Dec. 6, 2018


©mediaphotos/iStock.comHalf-facepiece reusable elastomeric respirators are an effective and viable option for protecting health care workers from exposure to airborne transmissible contaminants or infectious agents — for example, influenza virus — during day-to-day work or with a sudden or rapid influx of patients, such as during a public health emergency, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Implementation challenges need to be addressed, including storage, disinfection, and maintenance; training and education; user comfort and tolerability; and supply logistics and emergency stockpiling.



Dec. 5, 2018


Lauren Alexander Augustine has been appointed executive director of the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Gulf Research Program was established in 2013 as part of the settlement of criminal charges against two companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The federal government entrusted the National Academies with $500 million to enhance human health, environmental resources, and the safety of offshore energy systems in the Gulf of Mexico region.



Dec. 4, 2018


©MF3d/iStock.comGiven the current state of quantum computing and the significant challenges that still need to be overcome, it is highly unlikely that a quantum computer that can compromise public-key cryptography – a basis for the security of most of today's computers and networks – will be built within the next decade, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. However, because replacing an established Internet protocol generally takes over a decade, work to develop and deploy algorithms that are resilient against an attack by a quantum computer is critical now.



Dec. 3, 2018


©taka4332/iStock.comOver the next several decades as the global population grows, society will be faced with pressing challenges such as providing reliable supplies of food and water, diminishing climate change and adapting to its impacts, and building healthy, resilient cities. These challenges call for new and expanded roles for environmental engineers, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. To address the challenges, the report recommends that the environmental engineering field evolve its education, research, and practice to advance practical, impactful solutions for society’s multifaceted, vexing problems.



Dec. 3, 2018


The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is now accepting applications for its Early-Career Research Fellowships and Science Policy Fellowships for 2019. Both fellowship programs are designed to help early-career scientists hone their skills while working on issues at the intersections of human health, environmental resources, and offshore energy safety.



Nov. 30, 2018


DOE photoIf the dilute and dispose approach for disposing of the surplus plutonium in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is fully implemented, the U.S. Department of Energy should use two independent review teams to develop public trust in and improve its decisions, says a new interim report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The first team is a re-initiation of an independent review organization representing the concerns of the state of New Mexico, where WIPP is located, and the second is a separate independent team that would review the classified aspects of DOE's conceptual plan as they are developed for Congress.



Nov. 29, 2018


summit statement presidentsMarcia McNutt, president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, have issued a statement on the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing.



Nov. 29, 2018


David BaltimoreThe organizing committee for the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing has issued a statement on human genome editing research and its potential applications, including heritable genome editing.



Nov. 28, 2018


InterAcademy Partnership The InterAcademy Partnership – the global network of science, engineering, and medical academies – has released a new, wide-ranging report, . The report urges global leaders to rely on science to find sustainable solutions for food systems given the complex interplay of health and nutrition, agriculture, and climate change. The report also stresses the importance of internationally supporting and sharing basic and applied research to improve food, nutrition, and agriculture.



Nov. 28, 2018


©Rainer von Brandis/iStock.comWhile the management of local and regional stressors threatening coral reefs is critical, these efforts on their own will not be enough in the face of global climate change, says a new interim report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that is conducting the study explored the state of science on a variety of approaches to sustain coral reefs in rapidly deteriorating environmental conditions and assessed the interventions' benefits and goals, feasibility, risks, and infrastructure needs.



Nov. 28, 2018


©fstop123/iStock.comTo help determine if the descendants of Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans are at risk for health effects resulting from the service members' exposure to toxicants during deployment, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends the creation of a health monitoring and research program (HMRP). The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report assessed the available evidence on the reproductive, developmental, and generational health effects related to exposures that may have occurred during the Gulf War and post-9/11 conflicts. While there is a growing base of human and animal evidence on the reproductive and developmental effects of many toxicants of concern, there is a dearth of information on the specific effects of veterans' exposures on their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.



Nov. 27, 2018

Human Genome Editing Summit Kicks Off in Hong Kong


HONG KONG -- Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, welcomed hundreds of participants from around the world to the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, which began today.

“Hong Kong is honored to be hosting this prestigious group of scientists and experts from around the world,” Lam said at the three-day summit, being held on the campus at the University of Hong Kong. She noted that the acceleration of genome editing research that has occurred since the first international summit in 2015 in Washington D.C. makes it an opportune time to reconsider the science, ethics, and governance of this emerging area of research and applications.

This week’s gathering recognizes the global scope of human genome editing research, noted Nobel laureate David Baltimore, the chair of the summit’s organizing committee, in his opening address.

“As was the case when I attended the Asilomar Conference in 1975, we are gathered as a community to discuss the broader implications of breakthroughs that had previously been barely imaginable,” said Baltimore. “The ramifications of using genome editing to make permanent changes to the genome – and in particularly changes that will be passed on to future generations – means that it is critical for us to both hear and acknowledge diverse perspectives.”

The event is drawing increased attention from international journalists as news broke on the eve of the summit that a Chinese researcher – scheduled to speak at the summit on Wednesday -- reportedly edited human embryos that were implanted and recently led to the birth of twins. The news prompted the organizing committee to issue a highlighting two major reports that provided guidance on when and under what conditions heritable genome editing might be deemed permissible. The statement added that it has yet to be determined whether the reported case in China conformed to the stringent guidelines recommended by these reports.

Throughout the first day of the summit, experts gave presentations on multiple issues surrounding the science of human genome editing, including the science of human genome editing, social and philosophical reflections on manipulating genetic variation, and an update on governmental actions and advisory opinions regarding human genome editing. Archived video of the presentations will be .



Nov. 27, 2018


©B&M Noskowski/iStock.comA new report from the National Academies presents a research roadmap to address uncertainties in estimating the impacts of proposed changes in truck size and weight limits -- the regulations that set the maximum weights, lengths, and numbers of trailers allowed for trucks on U.S. highways. The report defined a program of 27 research projects focused on pavements, bridges, safety, enforcement, and shippers' decisions to transport freight by truck, rail, or other modes. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration tasked the National Academies to develop a plan for a research program to reduce uncertainties in estimates of the impacts of changes in the limits.



Nov. 26, 2018


On the eve of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, we were informed of the birth of twins in China whose embryonic genomes had been edited. The researcher who led the work, He Jiankui, is scheduled to speak at the summit on Wednesday.

The criteria under which heritable genome-editing clinical trials could be deemed permissible have been the subject of much debate and discussion by many research groups. Numerous studies have provided guidance for the conduct of heritable genome-editing clinical trials. One such study, a 2017 by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, concluded that clinical trials might be permitted after peer-reviewed preclinical research further clarifies the potential risks and benefits, only for compelling medical reasons in the absence of reasonable alternatives, and with maximum transparency and strict oversight. The report noted that such research should be approached with caution and with broad public input. It specified a regulatory framework that included . A second major , released in 2018, which was the result of an independent inquiry by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the U.K., also specifies “circumstances in which heritable genome editing interventions should be permitted.” Whether the clinical protocols that resulted in the births in China conformed with the guidance in these studies remains to be determined.

We hope that the dialogue at our summit further advances the world’s understanding of the issues surrounding human genome editing. Our goal is to help ensure that human genome editing research be pursued responsibly, for the benefit of all society.



Nov. 15, 2018


Agent Orange 2018The latest in a series of congressionally mandated biennial reviews of the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War found sufficient evidence of an association for hypertension and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report, Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018), focused on the scientific literature published between Sept. 30, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017.



Nov. 14, 2018


Stones Metocean Observatory ProjectThe Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced a new collaboration with Shell and others to provide $1 million in funding support for a pilot effort to convert an existing ocean mooring owned by Shell into the first long-term deep ocean observatory in the Gulf of Mexico. Known as the Stones Metocean Observatory Project, this collaboration will provide a new means to collect important marine data to support scientific research and improve understanding of the Gulf of Mexico.



Nov. 13, 2018


Investigation and Design Can Improve Student Learning in Science and EngineeringCentering science instruction around investigation and design can improve learning in middle and high schools and help students make sense of phenomena in the world around them. Current approaches to science in many classrooms do not reflect this approach and constrain the opportunities afforded to students, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Changing instructional approaches will require significant and sustained work by teachers, administrators, and policy makers, the report says.



Nov. 9, 2018


Arab-American Frontiers Symposium Held in Kuwait CityThe sixth Arab-American Frontiers Symposium of Science, Engineering, and Medicine was held earlier this week in Kuwait City in partnership with the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). The symposium brought together over 100 young researchers from the U.S. and 12 Arab countries to discuss cutting-edge advances in big data, water systems, microbiome, air quality, and next generation buildings and infrastructure.

More information on the Arab-American Frontiers program and symposia can be .



Nov. 1, 2018


Citizen ScienceScientific research that involves nonscientists contributing to research processes – also known as ‘citizen science’ – supports participants’ learning, engages the public in science, contributes to community scientific literacy, and can serve as a valuable tool to facilitate larger scale research, says a new report from the National Academies. If one of the goals of a citizen science project is to advance learning, designers should plan for it by defining intended learning outcomes and using evidence-based strategies to reach those outcomes.



Oct. 29, 2018


Registration Opens for Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing The  is now available for the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, which will take place Nov. 27-29 in Hong Kong. The three-day summit will be co-hosted by the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine.

For more information, visit the summit website. |



Oct. 26, 2018


Olivierclement of Sciences announced the appointment of , professor and Swanlund Chair of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the official journal of the Academy. Berenbaum, who was elected to the NAS in 1994 and has served on the PNAS editorial board since 1998, will begin the editorship on Jan. 1, 2019.



Oct. 24, 2018


Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies & Climate Change“Negative emissions technologies” (NETs) that remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the air will need to play a significant role in mitigating climate change, says a new Academies report. Some of these technologies can be deployed now, but additional ones are needed to meet climate goals. The report calls for the launch of a substantial research initiative to advance these technologies as soon as possible. Although climate mitigation remains the motivation for global investments in NETs, advances in NETs also could have economic rewards, as intellectual property rights and economic benefits will likely accrue to the nations that develop the best technology.



Oct. 18, 2018


Turning Greenhouse Gases Into Useful ProductsA new Academies report outlines a research agenda for improving the commercial viability of technologies that turn greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels into useful products such as fuels, construction materials, and chemicals. The report urges the U.S. government and private sector to support research and development to advance these technologies and coordinate their efforts.



Oct. 18, 2018


Improving Learning Outcomes in STEM for English LearnersA new report from the National Academies says that English learners develop proficiency in both STEM subjects and language when they are engaged in meaningful interaction in the classroom with teachers who can support them with content that allows language to develop simultaneously. However, many STEM teachers are not prepared adequately to provide robust learning opportunities that foster simultaneous content knowledge and language development in their classrooms.



Oct. 17, 2018


NAS members Angelika Amon, Xiaowei Zhuang, and Zhijian “James” Chen are among those awarded the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and NAS member Charles Kane is sharing the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Physics. The prizes, known as the "Oscars of Science," each come with a $3 million award.



Oct. 17, 2018


Progress of Everglades RestorationAs new evidence about climate change and sea-level rise in South Florida continues to emerge, agencies responsible for the restoration of the Everglades should conduct a mid-course assessment that rigorously analyzes scenarios of future change to the region’s ecosystem in its planning, says a new congressionally mandated report by the National Academies.



Oct. 16, 2018


National Academies Launching New Study on Sunlight-Reflection ResearchThe National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is forming a new committee to develop a research agenda and research governance approaches for climate intervention strategies that reflect sunlight to cool Earth.


Oct. 15, 2018


Olivierclement of Medicine today 75 new regular members and 10 new international members at its annual meeting. Election to the NAM 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.



Oct. 15, 2018


Olivierclement of Medicine announced the 2018 class of and presented two prestigious awards at its annual meeting today.

In addition, the 2018 was presented to for his pioneering role in national health policy and health services research. NAM also presented the 2018 to , for his work developing quality and outcomes approaches to psychiatry and mental health, fostering a generation of clinical investigators and mental health system leaders, and championing partnered, participatory research to advance equity for under-resourced populations.

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Oct. 15, 2018


For their outstanding service, the National Academy of Medicine honored members , senior associate dean of scholarship and research, Anna C. Maxwell Professor of Nursing Research, and professor of epidemiology at Columbia University; , chair of the department of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and , professor and director of the Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine and Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #6 at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Oct. 12, 2018


Making Health Systems Fully InteroperableWhile health care has made great strides in recent years with the proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs), establishment of regional health information exchanges, and development of data exchange standards and interfaces, interoperability among health care technologies remains very limited, says a new National Academy of Medicine (NAM) special publication. The lack of interoperability results in waste, inefficiency, and clinician burnout, which can contribute to patient safety risk.

Digital interoperability across clinicians, care units, facilities, and systems has become more essential because of increasing complexity in health care, the need for more seamless interfaces among clinicians, patients and families, and the growing number of clinicians across disparate specialties that a typical patient sees.



Oct. 10, 2018


©iStock.com/vjanezTo advance the search for life in the universe, NASA should support research on a broader range of biosignatures and environments, and incorporate the field of astrobiology into all stages of future exploratory missions, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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Oct. 8, 2018


The was divided equally between National Academy of Sciences member William D. Nordhaus of Yale University "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis" and Paul M. Romer of New York University "for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis."



Oct. 5, 2018


The was awarded to National Academy of Medicine international member Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."



Oct. 4, 2018


©iStock.com/alvarezA new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine highlights the dynamic process of learning throughout the life span and identifies frontiers in which more research is needed to pursue an even deeper understanding of human learning.



Oct. 3, 2018


The was divided. One half was awarded to Frances H. Arnold -- a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Medicine –“for the directed evolution of enzymes,” and the other half was awarded jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”



Oct. 2, 2018


©iStock.com/doranjclarkTo ensure that U.S. agricultural policies are well-informed, data collection programs must be periodically revisited to reflect current realities of the agricultural sector, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Better measurements of the large, often complex farms responsible for the majority of contemporary agricultural production in the United States would yield important information relevant to agricultural policy issues, but such measurement requires that specific definitions be applied accurately and consistently.



Oct. 2, 2018


The was divided, one half awarded to National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering member Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems,” and one half jointly to National Academy of Engineering member emeritus Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.”



Oct. 1, 2018


NAS/NAM member James P. Allison and NAS foreign associate Tasuku Honjo together have won the "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation."



Sept. 28, 2018


NAE Annual Meeting to Focus on Privacy and Cybersecurity National Academy of Engineering members will gather Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in Washington, D.C., to induct and welcome distinguished speakers who will discuss privacy and cybersecurity in the 21st century.

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Sept. 28, 2018


NAE Announces Award WinnersOn Sunday, Sept. 30, during its 2018 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Thomas Kailath for his research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Venkatesh Narayanamurti for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.



Sept. 11, 2018


laskerThe Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation that National Academy of Sciences members Michael Grunstein and C. David Allis share the 2018 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for discoveries into how gene expression is influenced by the chemical modification of histones — the proteins that package DNA within chromosomes. Joan Argetsinger Steitz, a member of both the NAS and the National Academy of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2018 Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for four decades of leadership in biomedical science — exemplified by pioneering discoveries in RNA biology, generous mentorship of young scientists, and vigorous and passionate support of women in science.

For more than 70 years, the Lasker Awards have recognized the contributions of leaders who made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of human disease. The prestigious awards each carry an honorarium of $250,000.



Sept. 10, 2018


©Sjo/iStockCurrent federal safety regulations for small distribution systems used for propane and other liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) should be improved for clarity, efficiency, enforceability, and applicability to risk, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Because compliance with the federal regulations is not enforced consistently by states, there is little understanding of how the requirements affect the safety of the gas pipeline systems, particularly the smallest ones with fewer than 100 customers.



Sept. 7, 2018


Nomination Announced for Next NAE President Olivierclement of Engineering 2019 nominating committee has recommended John L. Anderson, President Emeritus and distinguished professor of chemical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech), as the sole candidate for the NAE presidency. NAE members will vote in March 2019 to elect a new NAE president to a six-year term beginning July 1. If elected, Anderson will succeed C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., whose term will end June 30, 2019.


Sept. 6, 2018


Report Identifies Steps to Secure Americans' VotesTo protect the integrity and security of U.S. elections, all local, state, and federal elections should be conducted using human-readable paper ballots by the 2020 presidential election, says a new report from the National Academies. In addition, every effort should be made to use paper ballots in the 2018 federal election. Ballots that have been marked by voters should not be returned over the Internet or any network connected to it, because no current technology can guarantee their secrecy, security, and verifiability.



Sept. 5, 2018


NASA/JPL-CaltechTo answer significant questions about the planetary systems — such as whether our solar system is a rare phenomenon or if life exists on planets other than Earth — NASA should lead a large strategic direct imaging mission capable of studying Earth-like exoplanets orbiting stars similar to the sun, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.



Sept. 4, 2018


The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) announced the recipients of three $500,000 NAKFI Challenge awards. A 15-year, $40 million dollar program funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation, NAKFI was initiated in 2003 to break down barriers between fields and to promote interdisciplinary research. The NAKFI Challenge awards support activities that will carry forward NAKFI’s work beyond its 15 years as an activity of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Open only to NAKFI alumni who participated in the program’s annual interdisciplinary conferences, the call for proposals generated 78 applications. Applications underwent a round of peer-to-peer community judging by fellow applicants. The 30 highest scoring proposals were then judged by an expert panel consisting of members of NAKFI conference organizing committees. The three winners were chosen by the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.



Aug. 29, 2018


The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced the recipients of its 2018 Early-Career Research Fellowships. These competitive awards are among a suite of program activities aimed at supporting the development of future generations of scientists, engineers, and health professionals who are prepared to work at the intersections of offshore energy system safety, human health and well-being, and environmental stewardship in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. coastal regions.



Aug. 28, 2018


Improving Health Care WorldwideRecent gains against the burden of illness, injury, and disability and commitment to universal health coverage are insufficient to close the enormous gaps that remain between what is achievable in human health and where global health stands today, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for urgent, comprehensive efforts led by ministries of health worldwide to transform the design of health care through systems thinking and principles of human factors, acknowledge and engage the informal care sector, focus on settings of extreme adversity, embrace digital technologies and emerging innovations, and address corruption.



Aug. 23, 2018


2018 comm award winnersThe National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today the recipients of the 2018 Communication Awards.

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 will be honored during a ceremony on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.



Aug. 22, 2018

Registration Opens for Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing


Second Summit graphic for registrationRegistration is now open for the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, which will take place Nov. 27-29 in Hong Kong. The three-day summit will be co-hosted by the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine.

For more information and a draft agenda, visit the summit website. |



Aug. 7, 2018


JPL/NASA PhotoDespite significant cuts to NASA's Planetary Science Division budget early in this decade, the agency has made impressive progress in meeting goals outlined in the 2013-2022 planetary decadal survey by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, says a midterm assessment from the National Academies. The report notes that NASA met or exceeded the decadal survey's recommendations for funding research and analysis, and for technology programs.



Aug. 7, 2018


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Task Force on the 2020 Census today issued a and submitted it as a public comment to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which recently requested public comments on the 2020 Census.

The task force, which was established by the Academies' Committee on National Statistics to examine challenges in conducting the next decennial census, concluded that the Commerce Department's recent decision to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 census is inconsistent with the "proper performance of the functions" of the Census Bureau. The American Community Survey already meets the stated need for citizenship data, it noted, and adding the question without proper testing impairs the quality of the 2020 census as a whole. Furthermore, adding the citizenship question and using the method described in the secretary of commerce's memo and the Census Bureau's review would create a new population register. Such a register has unclear statistical purposes and could not under current law be used for nonstatistical purposes, such as law enforcement against individuals, and still comport with the bureau’s mission.

While citizenship is an important public policy topic and worthy of high-quality data collection, adding this question to the 2020 census risks undermining the credibility of the Census Bureau and the decennial census, the trust of its respondents, and the independence of the Census Bureau's professional staff to develop, produce, and disseminate objective information while protecting confidentiality of respondents.



Aug. 1, 2018


of director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. This is a key step toward giving science a seat at the table so decisions that shape our country are informed by the best available evidence. In particular, our nation is facing mounting costs from weather-related disasters, including more severe hurricanes, floods, droughts, and forest fires. Having a distinguished atmospheric scientist advising the president is timely and a great choice. I look forward to working with Dr. Droegemeier.

Marcia McNutt
President, National Academy of Sciences




Aug. 1, 2018


The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced the recipients of its 2018 Science Policy Fellowships. These competitive awards are among a suite of program activities aimed at supporting the development of future generations of scientists, engineers, and health professionals who are prepared to work at the intersections of offshore energy system safety, human health and well-being, and environmental stewardship in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. coastal regions.


July 25, 2018


The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today a new grant opportunity focused on enhancing coastal community resilience and well-being in the Gulf of Mexico region. The GRP intends to award up to $10 million to projects bringing together researchers and practitioners to collaborate on efforts that increase understanding of how community attributes and systems affect resilience and provide actionable information that can be used to implement policies and practices to enhance resilience.

This new funding opportunity builds on previous GRP funding intended to bridge the gap between the knowledge and practice of community resilience, including $10.8 million in grants awarded last year in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the same topic. This opportunity aims to continue to advance information exchange and collaboration between researchers and those who seek to implement policies and practices to enhance the resilience of their communities. For more information about this opportunity, how to apply, and past GRP grants awarded on this topic, visit
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July 24, 2018


©iStock/Rost-9DThe science questions that could be answered by an electron ion collider (EIC) – a very large-scale particle accelerator – are significant to advancing our understanding of the atomic nuclei that make up all visible matter in the universe, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Beyond its impact on nuclear science, the advances made possible by an EIC could have far-reaching benefits to the nation's science- and technology-driven economy as well as to maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear physics and in collider and accelerator technologies.



July 18, 2018


©iStock/tdub303A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies the most promising scientific breakthroughs that are possible to achieve in the next decade to increase the U.S. food and agriculture system's sustainability, competitiveness, and resilience. The urgent progress needed today, given challenges such as water scarcity, increased weather variability, floods, and droughts, requires a convergent research approach that harnesses advances in data science, materials science, information technology, behavioral sciences, economics, and many other fields.



July 17, 2018


Speeding Progress Toward Open ScienceWhile significant progress has been made in providing open access to scientific research, a range of challenges -- including the economics of scientific publication and cultural barriers in the research enterprise -- must be overcome to further advance the openness of science, says a new report from the National Academies. It recommends coordinated action from the academic community and other research stakeholders, and the use of an "open science by design" framework to foster openness throughout the research process.



July 11, 2018


©iStock/Natali_MisA new report from the National Academies examines evidence on whether providing permanent supportive housing (PSH) -- a combination of stable housing and supportive services -- to individuals who are experiencing homelessness improves their health. PSH holds potential for improving the health outcomes of people experiencing homelessness, and there is evidence that it improves outcomes among individuals with HIV/AIDS. However, evidence of its impact on other health conditions is lacking, largely because of multiple limitations in the research conducted so far. High priority should be given to studies aimed at identifying “housing-sensitive conditions,” whose course and medical management are strongly influenced by stable housing.



July 10, 2018


©iStock/ca-ssisWhen conducting research involving the testing of human biospecimens, investigators and their institutions should routinely consider whether and how to return individual research results to participants on a study-specific basis through an informed decision-making process, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Decisions will vary depending on the characteristics of the research, the nature of the results, and the interests of participants.

The undertaking of biomedical research with human participants — from exploratory, basic science inquiries to clinical trials using well-validated tests — often includes development of laboratory test results associated with an individual research participant. Recent changes to federal regulations have promoted transparency and allowed individuals greater access to these results; however, regulations are not consistent, the report says.


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Read the latest Report to Congress, which details the National Academies' work in 2017.