Strengthening and Sustaining Strong Safety Culture for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Requires Collective Action Among Industry and Regulators

May 25, 2016

To transform the offshore oil and gas industry's safety culture, operators, contractors, subcontractors, associations representing these groups, and federal regulators should collaborate to foster safety throughout all levels of the industry and confront challenges collectively, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The industry also should implement the recommendation of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling that called for an independent organization dedicated to safety and environmental protection, with no advocacy role. Read More

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Commercial Aircraft

May 24, 2016

Commercial aviation, like every means of mass transportation, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Although CO2 emissions from aviation make up only 2 percent to 2.5 percent of total global annual CO2 emissions, research on reducing these emissions is needed to mitigate the contribution that commercial aviation makes to climate change, given the high demand for commercial air transportation and its expected growth. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends a national research agenda for developing propulsion and energy system technologies that could reduce CO2 emissions from global civil aviation and that could be introduced into service during the next 10 to 30 years. The research agenda, which is intended to guide government, industry, and academic research, places the highest priority on four approaches: advances in aircraft-propulsion integration, improvements in gas turbine engines, development of turboelectric propulsion systems, and advances in sustainable alternative jet fuels.

Eight Health Professionals Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program

May 23, 2016

The National Academy of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today named the 2016-2017 class of RWJF Health Policy Fellows. Beginning in September, the eight health professionals selected will spend a year in Washington, D.C., working on health-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress and the executive branch. They will also engage in seminars and discussions on health policy and participate in leadership development programs.

Lessons Learned From Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident - Phase 2 Report

May 20, 2016

The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident should serve as a wake-up call to nuclear plant operators and regulators on the critical importance of measuring, maintaining, and restoring cooling in spent fuel pools during severe accidents and terrorist attacks, says a new congressionally mandated Academies report. The report from Phase 1 of this study was released in July 2014. This Phase 2 report provides findings and recommendations for improving U.S. nuclear plant security and spent fuel storage as well as re-evaluates conclusions from previous Academies studies on spent fuel storage safety and security. Read More

Distinction Between Genetic Engineering and Conventional Plant Breeding Becoming Less Clear

May 17, 2016

An extensive study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has found that new technologies in genetic engineering and conventional breeding are blurring the once clear distinctions between these two crop-improvement approaches. In addition, while recognizing the inherent difficulty of detecting subtle or long-term effects on health or the environment, the study committee found no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops, nor did it find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops. However, evolved resistance to current GE characteristics in crops is a major agricultural problem. Read More | Watch webcast

Defining and Classifying Crime

May 16, 2016

Since 1930, the FBI has served as central coordinator of data on known criminal offenses, combining reports from approximately 18,000 local law enforcement agencies under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Since the early 1970s, the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has used personal interviewing to view crime from the perspective of the victim and to estimate levels of total crime -- including those which are not known to or reported to police. Despite their prominence in the field, neither the UCR nor the NCVS is designated by law or regulation as the nation's "official" measure of crimes, at least in part because both possess unique strengths and limitations as measurement tools. A new interim report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine develops a framework for identifying the types of crimes to be considered in a modern crime classification for statistical purposes by weighing various perspectives on how crime should be defined and organized to meet the needs of the full array of data users and stakeholders -- federal agencies, other law enforcement agencies, Congress, the courts and corrections officials, researchers, and the general public.

Bullying Is a 'Serious Public Health Problem,' Says New Report; Evidence-Based Approaches to Prevent Bullying and its Harm Could Have a Dramatic Effect on Children's Well-Being and Development

May 10, 2016

Bullying is a serious public health problem, with significant short- and long-term psychological consequences for both the targets and perpetrators of such behavior, and requires a commitment to developing preventive and interventional policies and practices that could make a tangible difference in the lives of many children, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. There is emerging research that widely used zero-tolerance policies -- those that impose automatic suspension or expulsion of students from school after one bullying incident -- are not effective at curbing bullying or making schools safer and should be discontinued. Instead, resources should be directed to evidence-based policies and programs for bullying prevention in the United States. Read more

A Century of Service to the Nation

May 9, 2016

In 1916, the National Academy of Sciences established the National Research Council as "a measure of national preparedness" to organize the country's scientific resources. During World War I, the Research Council fostered cooperation between civilian researchers and the military in "strengthening the national defense." Over the years, thousands of volunteer scientists and researchers have contributed pro bono to the Research Council's work, keeping to the promise of President Woodrow Wilson's 1918 Executive Order to "stimulate research in the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, and in the application of these sciences to engineering, agriculture, medicine and other useful arts…" Today, the National Research Council is known as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. [Members of the National Research Council staff during World War I. Robert A. Millikan, second from left, and other members of the Research Council were commissioned as reserve officers in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in order to set up the Corps' Science and Research Division. Photo courtesy California Institute of Technology Archives]

Simons Foundation to Provide $10 Million Challenge Grant for the new Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions

May 3, 2016

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

Academy Elects New Members, Foreign Associates

May 3, 2016

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

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