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At its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences announced the creation of the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions, named in honor of the Academy's president from 2005 to 2016 and his wife. A $10 million challenge grant from the Simons Foundation will launch a special campaign to raise matching funds for the endowment, which will strengthen the Academy and be used to develop and support NAS programs and policy studies on newly emerging topics before they are widely recognized as major challenges to the nation. Read More
The National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the Academy is widely regarded as one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Read More
Over the last 25 years, deep-water oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has increased significantly. With the move into greater water depths and with deeper wells being drilled, operations can experience higher pressures, increased temperatures, and greater uncertainty. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends how the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the U.S. Department of the Interior could apply remote real-time monitoring (RRTM) to improve the safety and reduce the environmental risks of offshore oil and gas operations. While no standard RRTM practice exists, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report concluded that mandating a standard approach is not likely to work or be needed for every drilling company or well. Therefore, BSEE should pursue a performance-based regulatory framework that allows industry to determine relevant uses of RRTM based on assessed levels of risk and complexity.
During a ceremony at its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented the 2016 Public Welfare Medal to Alan Alda for his "extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public." NAS also honored 16 other individuals with awards for their outstanding scientific achievements. News Release - Public Welfare MedalNews Release - Awards
The National Academy of Sciences will hold its 153rd annual meeting April 30 to May 3. During the meeting, the Academy will elect new members, induct members elected in 2015, and present its 2016 awards recognizing excellence in research or public service. Selected presentations and ceremonies will be video webcast. Follow the annual meeting activities on Twitter @theNASciences and join the annual meeting conversation #NAS153.
In 2014, the U.S. government began a process to create oversight mechanisms for gain-of function research involving avian influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). As part of the assessment process, the government instituted a pause on funding certain new experiments and undertook a formal examination of the risks and benefits of gain-of-function research. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were also asked to convene two symposia on the issues. A new publication summarizes proceedings of the Academies’ second symposium on gain-of-function research, which was held March 10-11 in Washington D.C. At the symposium, invited experts discussed draft recommendations proposed by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity -- an official federal advisory body for providing advice on research that poses potential security and safety risks. Although no consensus recommendations were developed at the symposium, discussions will help inform the NSABB's final recommendations and government policy regarding GOF research.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should lead efforts among federal partners and stakeholders to design, implement, and evaluate a multipronged, evidence-based national strategy to reduce stigma toward people with mental and substance use disorders, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Many private and public organizations in the U.S. -- including eight federal agencies -- are already engaged in anti-stigma and mental health promotion efforts, but these efforts are largely uncoordinated and poorly evaluated. Read More
The science academies of the G-7 nations and seven additional science academies issued three joint statements to their respective governments to inform discussions during the G-7 summit to be held in May in Japan, as well as ongoing policymaking. The three statements -- on brain science, disaster resilience, and nurturing future scientists -- were drawn up by the academies under the aegis of the Science Council of Japan. Read More
It is possible to end the transmission of hepatitis B and C and prevent further sickness and deaths from the diseases in the U.S., but time, considerable resources, and attention to various barriers will be required, says a new Academies report. However, controlling the diseases by reducing the number of new and overall cases in the U.S. is more feasible in the short term. This is the first report of a two-phase study; the second report will outline a strategy for meeting the goals discussed in this report. Read More
A new Academies report identifies six practices to improve health care for individuals with social risk factors for poor health care outcomes, such as people who are in low socio-economic positions, reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods, or possess limited health literacy. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report said with adequate resources, health care providers can feasibly respond to incentives to deliver high-quality and good-value care to socially at-risk populations. This is the second report in a series of five that addresses social risk factors that affect the health care outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and ways to account for these factors in Medicare payment programs.