New Report Identifies Five Breakthroughs to Address Urgent Challenges and Advance Food and Agricultural Sciences by 2030

WED, 18 July 2018 11:00 EST

A 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. Read More

Academies' Presidents Comment on the EPA's Proposed Rule for Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science

WED, 18 July 2018 11:00 EST

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed rule for strengthening transparency in regulatory science (April 30, 2018, 83 Federal Register 18768), which stipulates that EPA will ensure that the data and models underlying the pivotal science that informs significant regulatory actions are made publicly available, in a format that allows for outside analysis and validation. In a July 16 letter to EPA's acting administrator, the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Medicine said that while EPA's proposed provision is generally consistent with advice from the National Academies, overly stringent requirements for transparency may cause valid evidence to be discarded and thereby pose a threat to the credibility of regulatory science. In the letter, the presidents pointed to several National Academies reports to help inform EPA decisions about the proposed rule, and cautioned that the rule's "scope, complexities, and potential serious implications for regulatory science and action clearly warrant additional thorough, independent, objective, and context-specific evaluation and analysis."

Report Proposes Recommendations and New Framework to Speed Progress Toward Open Science

TUE, 17 July 2018 13:30 EST

While 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. Read More

Permanent Supportive Housing Holds Potential for Improving Health of People Experiencing Homelessness, But Further Research on Effectiveness Is Needed

WED, 11 July 2018 11:00 EST

A 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. Read More

New Report Says Individual Research Results Should Be Shared With Participants More Often, Recommends Framework for Decision-Making

TUE, 10 July 2018 11:00 EST

When 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. Read More

Gulf Research Program and Sea Grant to Conduct Workshops Around the Country on Improving Regional Oil Spill Preparedness

TUE, 10 July 2018 11:00 EST

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is collaborating with the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program to convene a series of workshops aimed at improving community preparedness for future oil spills. The workshops, to be held in five regions around the United States, will bring together practitioners and stakeholders focusing on lessons learned about the health, social, and economic impacts of oil spills and identify regional needs and priorities for improving preparedness. Read More

NASA Should Update Policies That Protect Planets and Other Solar System Bodies During Space Exploration Missions, New Report Says

MON, 2 July 2018 11:00 EST

The current process for planetary protection policy development is inadequate to respond to increasingly complex solar system exploration missions, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. To prepare effectively for new dimensions of space exploration – including the entry of new international and private-sector players and eventual human presence on other planetary bodies – the report calls for NASA to develop a planetary protection strategic plan, assess the completeness of policies, and initiate a process to formally define requirements that are missing. NASA should also identify a strategy for dealing with major policy issues, such as sample-return from and human missions to Mars and private-sector solar system exploration missions. Read More

To Increase Protection of Miners from Black Lung Disease, A Comprehensive Report on Underground Coal Mine Dust Exposure Says Monitoring and Sampling Should Go Beyond Regulatory Compliance

THU, 28 JUNE 2018 14:00 EST

Black lung disease cases in coal miners have been increasing since 2000 for uncertain reasons. A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that even though mine operators today are complying with regulatory requirements for monitoring conditions that affect miner health, these approaches may not guarantee that exposures will be controlled adequately or that future disease rates will decline. A fundamental shift is needed in the way mine operators approach exposure control to continue progress toward eliminating coal mine dust-related lung diseases. The report recommends a number of actions for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) that range from improving current monitoring technologies to building research activities that address the gaps in knowledge. Read More

New Report Identifies Three Critical Areas of Research to Fill Gaps in Scientific Knowledge of the Gulf Coast's Interconnected Natural and Human System

WED, 27 JUNE 2018 11:00 EST

Improved understanding of the coupled natural-human coastal system will help promote resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems under rapidly changing environmental conditions and support informed decision-making, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Read More

Eight RWJF Health Policy Fellows Selected

WED, 27 JUNE 2018 09:00 EST

The National Academy of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have named the 2018-2019 class of RWJF Health Policy Fellows. Eight individuals were chosen in a national competition for highly accomplished health, behavioral, and social science professionals who have an interest in health policy. Beginning in September, the fellows will spend a year in Washington, D.C., working on health-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress and the executive branch. Read More

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