Strong, Positive Safety Culture in Chemical Labs Requires Support From All Levels Within Research Institutions
July 31, 2014
Everyone involved in the academic chemical research enterprise -- from researchers and principal investigators to university leadership -- has an important role to play in establishing and promoting a strong, positive safety culture, says a new report from the National Research Council. This requires a constant commitment to safety organization-wide and emphasis on identifying and solving problems, rather than merely adhering to a set of rules and assigning blame when those rules are not followed. Read More
July 29, 2014
The U.S. should significantly reform the federal system for financing physician training and residency programs to ensure that the public's $15 billion annual investment is producing the doctors that the nation needs, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine. Current financing -- provided largely through Medicare -- requires little accountability, allocates funds independent of workforce needs or educational outcomes, and offers insufficient opportunities to train physicians in the health care settings used by most Americans. Read More
July 28, 2014
A new report from the National Research Council has upheld the listing of styrene as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" in the National Toxicology Program's 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC). The committee that wrote the report found that the listing is supported by "limited but credible" evidence of carcinogenicity in human studies, "sufficient" evidence from animal studies, and "convincing relevant information" in mechanistic studies that observed DNA damage in human cells that had been exposed to styrene. The committee reached the same conclusion after conducting both a peer review of the RoC and an independent assessment of the styrene literature. Read More
July 24, 2014
A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the overarching lesson from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is that nuclear plant licensees and regulators must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards with the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants. The committee that wrote the report examined the causes of the accident and made recommendations for improving nuclear plant safety and offsite emergency responses to nuclear plant accidents in the U.S. Read More
July 23, 2014
In recent years, an increase in the population and property located along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts has contributed to a dramatic rise in storm-related losses. Climate change poses additional threats to these coastal communities due to sea-level rise and possible increases in the strength of the most intense hurricanes. Because the vast majority of funding associated with coastal storms comes from the federal government -- and often only after a disaster occurs -- property owners and local and state governments have few incentives not to develop or rebuild in high-risk areas.A new report from the National Research Council recommends a national vision for coastal risk reduction that includes a long-term view, regional rather than project-based solutions, and consideration of the wide array of economic, environmental, and social benefits that come from risk management efforts. To support this vision, a national risk assessment is needed to identify coastal areas that face the greatest threats and are high priorities for risk-reduction efforts. Read More | Slides
July 18, 2014
A new report from the National Research Council discusses the role additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3-D printing, could have in future space and aerospace missions. Both NASA and the Air Force are exploring the possibility of putting this technology to use, and although 3-D printing is a fairly mature technology, the report concludes that its application in space is extremely limited. The vacuum of space, zero gravity, and intense thermal fluctuations are a few of the harsh environmental obstacles the technology will need to overcome. In addition, the high costs of equipment operation, maintenance, and infrastructure platforms must also be considered in the cost-benefit equation. The report looks beyond production costs as the sole criterion for evaluating the benefits of space-based 3-D printing, however, and highlights the potential value of creating structures and functionalities not feasible without this technology. The committee that wrote the report recommends NASA and the Air Force cooperate across multiple levels, especially when utilizing the International Space Station for research. Read More3D Printing in Space Infographic
July 15, 2014
The Jefferson Science Fellowship program held a gathering July 15 at the National Academy of Sciences building to celebrate the program's 10-year anniversary. Administered by the National Academies, the program supports university faculty on one-year assignments at the U.S. Department of State or USAID, where they serve as science and technology advisers on foreign policy issues, often traveling to U.S. embassies and missions overseas.
July 1, 2014
Victor J. Dzau -- an internationally recognized trailblazer in translational research, health innovation, and global health care strategy and delivery -- begins his new role as president of the Institute of Medicine today. Dzau takes the helm at IOM after serving nearly 10 years as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and CEO for Duke University Health System. Before that, Dzau held influential posts with Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Stanford University.In announcing Dzau's appointment, NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone said, "Victor Dzau is an internationally acclaimed leader and scientist whose work has improved health care in the United States and globally. Under his direction, the Institute of Medicine will continue to advance research and improve health by providing objective, evidence-based guidance on critical issues." "As a physician-scientist and leader in academic medicine," said outgoing IOM president Harvey V. Fineberg, "Victor has consistently demonstrated inspirational leadership, innovative thinking, and multifaceted achievement. Now, all of us at the IOM, both members and staff, will benefit more fully from his leadership." Fineberg, who served 12 years as IOM's president, is joining the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, for a one-year appointment as a presidential chair and will focus on global health policy and analysis.
June 30, 2014
To remain globally competitive in science and technology (S&T), the U.S. Department of Defense should develop an implementable strategy to improve its awareness of the global S&T landscape and identify opportunities for collaboration, says a new report from the National Research Council. Read More
June 27, 2014
A new congressionally mandated National Research Council report finds that while planning for Everglades restoration projects has advanced considerably over the past two years, project implementation has been impeded by financial, procedural, and policy constraints. The report is the fifth in a series of biennial reviews of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a multibillion dollar project launched in 2000 with the goal of reversing the ecosystem's decline. This most recent evaluation finds that restoration progress to date has been moderate and focused largely on the edges of the Everglades.The impacts of climate change -- especially sea-level rise -- provide further incentive to accelerate restoration efforts, the report adds. Timely project authorization, adequate funding levels, and creative policy and implementation strategies are needed to achieve restoration benefits.