Too Soon for 3-D Printing to Significantly Enhance Space Operations, Report Says

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

Science Fellows Celebrate 10 Years

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.

New Institute of Medicine President Takes Office

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.

Improving DOD Engagement in International Science and Technology

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

Despite Advances in Planning, Everglades Restoration Impeded by Financial and Policy Constraints

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.

Winners of 2014 Essay Contest Announced

June 24, 2014

The National Academy of Engineering announced today the winners of its 2014 EngineerGirl essay competition. This year's contest was held as the NAE celebrates its 50th anniversary and asked students in grades three to 12 to describe how engineering has addressed societal needs in the past 50 years and suggest ways that engineering will impact society in the next 50 years in one of the following areas: nutrition, health, communication, education, and transportation. Read More

Effectiveness of PTSD Treatment Provided by DOD and VA Unknown

June 20, 2014

The U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should track the outcomes of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder provided to patients and develop a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to do so, says a new congressionally mandated report from the Institute of Medicine. Without tracking outcomes, neither DOD nor VA knows whether it is providing effective or adequate PTSD care, for which they spent $294 million and more than $3 billion, respectively, in 2012. Read More

Assessing the Design of the National Children's Study

June 16, 2014

While the National Children's Study (NCS) could add immensely to knowledge about children's health and development, and while the study's proposed design has several strengths, the design needs stronger scientific rationale and further development of several key aspects such as sampling and measurement strategies, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Read More

Assessing FAA's Staffing Processes for Air Traffic Controllers

June 13, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration's models for determining air traffic controller staffing needs are suitable for developing initial estimates of the number of controllers required at terminal areas and airport towers, but the models used to staff centers controlling air traffic between airports can be improved, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. As a matter of priority, FAA should implement an enhanced scheduling tool for all facilities that incorporates fatigue mitigation strategies. Read More

Green Growth in Portugal

June 12, 2014

On June 11 the National Research Council welcomed Jorge Moreira da Silva, Portugal's minister of environment, spatial planning, and energy, who spoke about his country's efforts to move beyond economic crisis while growing in a sustainable way. In discussions with other European nations, Portugal has advocated goals of obtaining 40 percent of energy from renewable sources, reducing greenhouse gases by 40 percent, and increasing energy efficiency by 30 percent by the year 2030. The event also hosted panelists from Portuguese industry and research institutes, who explained the country's efforts to support electric vehicles, smart grids, and renewable energy such as floating wind power and wave power. Closing remarks were made by the U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe and Portugal's Secretary of State for Energy, Artur Trindade.The event was held by the Research Council's Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability Series, a seminar series for early-career professionals who are interested in building bridges with peers in D.C.-area agencies and organizations around sustainability efforts.

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