America's research universities have undergone striking change in recent decades, as have many aspects of the society that surrounds them. This change has important implications for the heart of every university: the faculty. To sustain their high level of intellectual excellence and their success in preparing young people for the various roles they will play in society, universities need to be aware of how evolving conditions affect their ability to attract the most qualified people and to maximize their effectiveness as teachers and researchers. Gender roles, family life, the demographic makeup of the nation and the faculty, and the economic stability of higher education all have shifted dramatically over the past generation. In addition, strong current trends in technology, funding, and demographics suggest that change will continue and perhaps even accelerate in academe in the years to come. One central element of academic life has remained essentially unchanged for generations, however: the formal structure of the professorial career. Developed in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to suit circumstances quite different from today's, and based on traditions going back even earlier, this customary career path is now a source of strain for both the individuals pursuing it and the institutions where they work. The Arc of the Academic Research Career is the summary of a workshop convened by The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy in September 2013 to examine major points of strain in academic research careers from the point of view of both the faculty members and the institutions. National experts from a variety of disciplines and institutions discussed practices and strategies already in use on various campuses and identified issues as yet not effectively addressed. This workshop summary addresses the challenges universities face, from nurturing the talent of future faculty members to managing their progress through all the stages of their careers to finding the best use of their skills as their work winds down.
Assuring the U.S. Department of Defense a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforceby National Research Council National Academy of Engineering Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences Policy and Global Affairs Board on Higher Education and Workforce Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base
The ability of the nation's military to prevail during future conflicts, and to fulfill its humanitarian and other missions, depends on continued advances in the nation's technology base. A workforce with robust Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) capabilities is critical to sustaining U.S. preeminence. Today, however, the STEM activities of the Department of Defense (DOD) are a small and diminishing part of the nation's overall science and engineering enterprise. Assuring the U.S. Department of Defense a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce presents five principal recommendations for attracting, retaining, and managing highly qualified STEM talent within the department based on an examination of the current STEM workforce of DOD and the defense industrial base. As outlined in the report, DOD should focus its investments to ensure that STEM competencies in all potentially critical, emerging topical areas are maintained at least at a basic level within the department and its industrial and university bases.
During July 10-13, 2011, 68 participants from 32 countries gathered in Istanbul, Turkey for a workshop organized by the United States National Research Council on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-containment Biological Laboratories. The United States Department of State's Biosecurity Engagement Program sponsored the workshop, which was held in partnership with the Turkish Academy of Sciences. The international workshop examined biosafety and biosecurity issues related to the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of high-containment biological laboratories- equivalent to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention biological safety level 3 or 4 labs. Although these laboratories are needed to characterize highly dangerous human and animal pathogens, assist in disease surveillance, and produce vaccines, they are complex systems with inherent risks. Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories summarizes the workshop discussion, which included the following topics: Technological options to meet diagnostic, research, and other goals; Laboratory construction and commissioning; Operational maintenance to provide sustainable capabilities, safety, and security; and Measures for encouraging a culture of responsible conduct. Workshop attendees described the history and current challenges they face in their individual laboratories. Speakers recounted steps they were taking to improve safety and security, from running training programs to implementing a variety of personnel reliability measures. Many also spoke about physical security, access controls, and monitoring pathogen inventories. Workshop participants also identified tensions in the field and suggested possible areas for action.
The scientific work of women is often viewed through a national or regional lens, but given the growing worldwide connectivity of most, if not all, scientific disciplines, there needs to be recognition of how different social, political, and economic mechanisms impact women's participation in the global scientific enterprise. Although these complex sociocultural factors often operate in different ways in various countries and regions, studies within and across nations consistently show inverse correlations between levels in the scientific and technical career hierarchy and the number of women in science: the higher the positions, the fewer the number of women. Understanding these complex patterns requires interdisciplinary and international approaches. In April 2011, a committee overseen by the National Academies' standing Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) convened a workshop entitled, "Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context" in Washington, D.C. CWSEM's goals are to coordinate, monitor, and advocate action to increase the participation of women in science, engineering, and medicine. The scope of the workshop was limited to women's participation in three scientific disciplines: chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and statistics. The workshop presentations came from a group of scholars and professionals who have been working for several years on documenting, analyzing, and interpreting the status of women in selected technical fields around the world. Examination of the three disciplines-chemistry, computer science, and mathematics and statistics-can be considered a first foray into collecting and analyzing information that can be replicated in other fields. The complexity of studying science internationally cannot be underestimated, and the presentations demonstrate some of the evidentiary and epistemological challenges that scholars and professionals face in collecting and analyzing data from many different countries and regions. Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context summarizes the workshop presentations, which provided an opportunity for dialogue about the issues that the authors have been pursuing in their work to date.
The U.S. Congress charged the National Academies with conducting a review of the Internal Revenue Code to identify the types of and specific tax provisions that have the largest effects on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and to estimate the magnitude of those effects. To address such a broad charge, the National Academies appointed a committee composed of experts in tax policy, energy and environmental modeling, economics, environmental law, climate science, and related areas. For scientific background to produce Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the committee relied on the earlier findings and studies by the National Academies, the U.S. government, and other research organizations. The committee has relied on earlier reports and studies to set the boundaries of the economic, environmental, and regulatory assumptions for the present study. The major economic and environmental assumptions are those developed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its annual reports and modeling. Additionally, the committee has relied upon publicly available data provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which inventories greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different sources in the United States. The tax system affects emissions primarily through changes in the prices of inputs and outputs or goods and services. Most of the tax provisions considered in this report relate directly to the production or consumption of different energy sources. However, there is a substantial set of tax expenditures called "broad-based" that favor certain categories of consumption--among them, employer-provided health care, owner-occupied housing, and purchase of new plants and equipment. Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions examines both tax expenditures and excise taxes that could have a significant impact on GHG emissions.
The primary federal program designed to ensure that all states are capable of participating the nation's research enterprise fall under the general rubric of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCOR). The National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration have active EPSCOR programs. Since its inaugural year in 1979, the EPSCOR program has grown from funding programs in five states to awarding funding to 31 states in 2012. The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research assesses the effectiveness of EPSCOR and similar federal agency programs in improving national research capabilities, promoting an equitable distribution of research funding, and integrating their efforts with other initiatives designed to strengthen the nation's research capacity. This report also looks at the effectiveness of EPSCOR states in using awards to develop science engineering research and education, as well a science and engineering infrastructure within their state. The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research makes recommendations for improvement for each agency to create a more focused program with greater impact.
The "homeland" security mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is paradoxical: Its mission space is uniquely focused on the domestic consequences of security threats, but these threats may be international in origin, organization, and implementation. The DHS is responsible for the domestic security implications of threats to the United States posed, in part, through the global networks of which the United States is a part. While the security of the U.S. air transportation network could be increased if it were isolated from connections to the larger international network, doing so would be a highly destructive step for the entire fabric of global commerce and the free movement of people. Instead, the U.S. government, led by DHS, is taking a leadership role in the process of protecting the global networks in which the United States participates. These numerous networks are both real (e.g., civil air transport, international ocean shipping, postal services, international air freight) and virtual (the Internet, international financial payments system), and they have become vital elements of the U.S. economy and civil society. Export Control Challenges Associated with Securing the Homeland found that outdated regulations are not uniquely responsible for the problems that export controls post to DHS, although they are certainly an integral part of the picture. This report also explains that the source of these problems lies within a policy process that has yet to take into account the unique mission of DHS relative to export controls. Export Control Challenges Associated with Securing the Homeland explains the need by the Department of Defense and State to recognize the international nature of DHS's vital statutory mission, the need to further develop internal processes at DHS to meet export control requirements and implement export control policies, as well as the need to reform the export control interagency process in ways that enable DHS to work through the U.S. export control process to cooperate with its foreign counterparts.
Flexible Electronics for Security, Manufacturing, and Growth in the United States is the summary of a workshop convened in September 2010 by Policy and Global Affairs' Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy to review challenges, plans, and opportunities for growing a robust flexible electronics industry in the United States. Business leaders, academic experts, and senior government officials met to review the role of research consortia around the world to advance flexible electronics technology. Presenters and participants sought to understand their structure, focus, funding, and likely impact, and to determine what appropriate steps the United States might consider to develop a robust flexible electronics industry. Flexible electronics refers to technologies that enable flexibility in the manufacturing process as well as flexibility as a characteristic of the final product. Features such as unconventional forms and ease of manufacturability provide important advantages for flexible electronics over conventional electronics built on rigid substrates. Today, examples of flexible electronics technologies are found in flexible flat-panel displays, medical image sensors, photovoltaic sheets, and electronic paper. Some industry experts predict that the market for global flexible electronics will experience a double digit growth rate, reaching $250 billion by 2025, but most experts believe that the United States is not currently poised to capitalize on this opportunity. Flexible Electronics for Security, Manufacturing, and Growth in the United States examines and compares selected innovation programs, both foreign and domestic, and their potential to advance the production of flexible electronics technology.
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), at the U.S. National Foundation, is 1 of 14 major statistical agencies in the federal government, of which at least 5 collect relevant information on science, technology, and innovation activities in the United States and abroad. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 expanded and codified NCSES's role as a U.S. federal statistical agency. Important aspects of the agency's mandate include collection, acquisition, analysis, and reporting and dissemination of data on research and development trends, on U.S. competitiveness in science, technology, and research and development, and on the condition and progress of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Improving Measures of Science, Technology and Innovation: Interim Report examines the status of the NCSES's science, technology, and innovation (STI) indicators. This report assesses and provides recommendations regarding the need for revised, refocused, and newly developed indicators designed to better reflect fundamental and rapid changes that are reshaping global science, technology and innovation systems. The book also determines the international scope of STI indicators and the need for developing new indicators that measure developments in innovative activities in the United States and abroad, and Offers foresight on the types of data, metrics and indicators that will be particularly influential in evidentiary policy decision-making for years to come. In carrying out its charge, the authoring panel undertook a broad and comprehensive review of STI indicators from different countries, including Japan, China, India and several countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa. Improving Measures of Science, Technology, and Innovation makes recommendations for near-term action by NCSES along two dimensions: (1) development of new policy-relevant indicators that are based on NCSES survey data or on data collections at other statistical agencies; and (2) exploration of new data extraction and management tools for generating statistics, using automated methods of harvesting unstructured or scientometric data and data derived from administrative records.
Indo-U.S. Workshop on Challenges of Emerging Infections and Global Health Safety: Summary of a Workshopby National Academy Of Sciences Indian National Science Academy Policy and Global Affairs Rita S. Guenther Micah D. Lowenthal Committee on India-United States Cooperation on Challenges of Emerging Infections and Global Health Safety
The United States and India have pledged to deepen the linkages between their people, their businesses, and their governments for the mutual benefit of both countries and for the promotion of global peace, stability, economic growth and prosperity. Both nations are now inclined to improve relations and cooperation, but the nations need specific actions that will yield progress and build confidence and momentum for further cooperation. The Indo-U.S. Workshop on Challenges of Emerging Infections and Global Health Safety, held in November 2014, encouraged scientists from both countries to examine global issues related to emerging and existing infections and global health safety, to share experience and approaches, and to identify opportunities for cooperation to improve practice and research in these areas. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.
New York's Nanotechnology Model: Building the Innovation Economy is the summary of a 2013 symposium convened by the National Research Council Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy and members of the Nano Consortium that drew state officials and staff, business leaders, and leading national figures in early-stage finance, technology, engineering, education, and state and federal policies to review challenges, plans, and opportunities for innovation-led growth in New York. The symposium participants assessed New York's academic, industrial, and human resources, identified key policy issues, and engaged in a discussion of how the state might leverage regional development organizations, state initiatives, and national programs focused on manufacturing and innovation to support its economic development goals. This report highlights the accomplishments and growth of the innovation ecosystem in New York, while also identifying needs, challenges, and opportunities. New York's Nanotechnology Model reviews the development of the Albany nanotech cluster and its usefulness as a model for innovation-based growth, while also discussing the New York innovation ecosystem more broadly.
When, in late 2011, it became public knowledge that two research groups had submitted for publication manuscripts that reported on their work on mammalian transmissibility of a lethal H5N1 avian influenza strain, the information caused an international debate about the appropriateness and communication of the researchers' work, the risks associated with the work, partial or complete censorship of scientific publications, and dual-use research of concern in general. Recognizing that the H5N1 research is only the most recent scientific activity subject to widespread attention due to safety and security concerns, on May 1, 2012, the National Research Council's Committee on Science, Technology and Law, in conjunction with the Board on Life Sciences and the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats, convened a one-day public workshop for the purposes of 1) discussing the H5N1 controversy; 2) considering responses by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which had funded this research, the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), scientific publishers, and members of the international research community; and 3) providing a forum wherein the concerns and interests of the broader community of stakeholders, including policy makers, biosafety and biosecurity experts, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the general public might be articulated. Perspectives on Research with H5N1 Avian Influenza: Scientific Enquiry, Communication, Controversy summarizes the proceedings of the workshop.
Synthetic biology -- unlike any research discipline that precedes it -- has the potential to bypass the less predictable process of evolution to usher in a new and dynamic way of working with living systems. Ultimately, synthetic biologists hope to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that do not exist in natural systems -- capabilities that may ultimately be used for applications in manufacturing, food production, and global health. Importantly, synthetic biology represents an area of science and engineering that raises technical, ethical, regulatory, security, biosafety, intellectual property, and other issues that will be resolved differently in different parts of the world. As a better understanding of the global synthetic biology landscape could lead to tremendous benefits, six academies -- the United Kingdom's Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, the United States' National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering -- organized a series of international symposia on the scientific, technical, and policy issues associated with synthetic biology. Positioning Synthetic Biology to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century summarizes the symposia proceedings.
The Republic of Indonesia, home to over 240 million people, is the world's fourth most populous nation. Ethnically, culturally, and economically diverse, the Indonesian people are broadly dispersed across an archipelago of more than 13,000 islands. Rapid urbanization has given rise to one megacity (Jakarta) and to 10 other major metropolitan areas. And yet about half of Indonesians make their homes in rural areas of the country. Indonesia, a signatory to the United Nations Millennium Declaration, has committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, recent estimates suggest that Indonesia will not achieve by the target date of 2015 MDG 4 - reduction by two-thirds of the 1990 under - 5 infant mortality rate (number of children under age 5 who die per 1,000 live births) - and MDG 5 - reduction by three-quarters of the 1990 maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths within 28 days of childbirth in a given year per 100,000 live births). Although much has been achieved, complex and indeed difficult challenges will have to be overcome before maternal and infant mortality are brought into the MDG-prescribed range. Reducing Maternal and Neonatal Mortality in Indonesia is a joint study by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Indonesian Academy of Sciences that evaluates the quality and consistency of the existing data on maternal and neonatal mortality; devises a strategy to achieve the Millennium Development Goals related to maternal mortality, fetal mortality (stillbirths), and neonatal mortality; and identifies the highest priority interventions and proposes steps toward development of an effective implementation plan. According to the UN Human Development Index (HDI), in 2012 Indonesia ranked 121st out of 185 countries in human development. However, over the last 20 years the rate of improvement in Indonesia\'s HDI ranking has exceeded the world average. This progress may be attributable in part to the fact that Indonesia has put considerable effort into meeting the MDGs. This report is intended to be a contribution toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Research Universities and the Future of America presents critically important strategies for ensuring that our nation's research universities contribute strongly to America's prosperity, security, and national goals. Widely considered the best in the world, our nation's research universities today confront significant financial pressures, important advances in technology, a changing demographic landscape, and increased international competition. This report provides a course of action for ensuring our universities continue to produce the knowledge, ideas, and talent the United States needs to be a global leader in the 21st century. Research Universities and the Future of America focuses on strengthening and expanding the partnership among universities and government, business, and philanthropy that has been central to American prosperity and security. The report focuses on the top 10 actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities, and others could take to strengthen the research and education missions of our research universities, their relationships with other parts of the national research enterprise, and their ability to transfer new knowledge and ideas to those who productively use them in our society and economy. This report examines trends in university finance, prospects for improving university operations, opportunities for deploying technology, and improvement in the regulation of higher education institutions. It also explores ways to improve pathways to graduate education, take advantage of opportunities to increase student diversity, and realign doctoral education for the careers new doctorates will follow. Research Universities and the Future of America is an important resource for policy makers on the federal and state levels, university administrators, philanthropic organizations, faculty, technology transfer specialists, libraries, and researchers.
Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia is the summary of a 2013 conference convened by the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine of the National Research Council to discuss the current status of women of color in academia and explore the challenges and successful initiatives for creating the institutional changes required to increase representation of women of color at all levels of the academic workforce. While the number of women, including minority women, pursuing higher education in science, engineering and medicine has grown, the number of minority women faculty in all institutions of higher education has remained small and has grown less rapidly than the numbers of nonminority women or minority men. Seeking Solutions reviews the existing research on education and academic career patterns for minority women in science, engineering, and medicine to enhance understanding of the barriers and challenges to the full participation of all minority women in STEM disciplines and academic careers. Additionally, this report identifies reliable and credible data source and data gaps, as well as key aspects of exemplary policies and programs that are effective in enhancing minority women's participation in faculty ranks. Success in academia is predicated on many factors and is not solely a function of talent. Seeking Solutions elucidates those other factors and highlights ways that institutions and the individuals working there can take action to create institutional cultures hospitable to people of any gender, race, and ethnicity.
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)-- a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-- has sought for more than two decades to strengthen American manufacturing. It is a national network of affiliated manufacturing extension centers and field offices located throughout all fifty states and Puerto Rico. Qualified MEP Centers work directly with small and medium manufacturing firms in their state or sub-state region, providing expertise, services and assistance directed to foster growth, improve supply chain positioning, leverage emerging technologies, upgrade manufacturing processes, develop work force training, and apply and implement new information. Strengthening American Manufacturing: The Role of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership is the summary of a symposium convened to review current operations and some of the recent MEP initiatives in the broader context of global manufacturing trends and the opportunities for high-value manufacturing companies. Business leaders, academic experts, and state and federal officials addressed the metrics and impacts of MEP and identified potential areas of improvement. The meeting drew attention to the scale and focuses of MEP, and highlighted the role it plays in supporting and enabling U.S. manufacturers to compete more effectively in the global marketplace. This report includes an overview of key issues raised at this workshop and a detailed summary of the conference presentations.
Federal laws, regulations, and executive orders have imposed requirements for federal agencies to move toward the sustainable acquisition of goods and services, including the incorporation of sustainable purchasing into federal agency decision making. Since the federal government is such a significant player in the market, its move to incorporate sustainable procurement practices could have a profound impact on the types of products being developed for the market as a whole. The General Services Administration (GSA) has played a key role in furthering sustainable procurement practices throughout the federal government. GSA is responsible for formulating and maintaining government-wide policies covering a variety of administrative actions, including those related to procurement and management. GSA has several ongoing activities related to sustainable procurement to assess the feasibility of working with the federal supplier community - vendors and contractors that serve federal agencies to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain while encouraging sustainable operations among suppliers. GSA has also been actively developing programs to assist federal agencies in making sustainable procurement decisions. As federal agencies cannot directly fund the development of sustainable procurement tools, they are particularly interested in understanding how to foster innovation and provide incentives for collaboration between developers and users of tools for sustainable purchasing throughout the supply chain. The training of procurement professionals is also a priority for these agencies. To assist efforts to build sustainability considerations into the procurement process, the National Research Council appointed a committee to organize a two-day workshop that explored ways to better incorporate sustainability considerations into procurement tools and capabilities across the public and private sectors. The workshop was designed to help participants assess the current landscape of green purchasing tools, identify emerging needs for enhanced or new tools and opportunities to develop them, identify potential barriers to progress, and explore potential solutions. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss challenges related to sustainable purchasing and to developing new procurement tools. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities reviews the presenters' recommendations and tools currently used in sustainable procurement, such as databases for ecolabels and standards, codes, or regulations and other nontechnological tools such as policies, frameworks, rating systems, and product indexes.
A "sustainable society," according to one definition, "is one that can persist over generations; one that is far-seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or its social system of support." As the government sector works hard to ensure sufficient fresh water, food, energy, housing, health, and education for the nation without limiting resources for the future generations, it's clear that there is no sufficient organization to deal with sustainability issues. Each federal agency appears to have a single mandate or a single area of expertise making it difficult to tackle issues such as managing the ecosystem. Key resource domains, which include water, land, energy, and nonrenewable resources, for example, are nearly-completely connected yet different agencies exist to address only one aspect of these domains. The legendary ecologist John Muir wrote in 1911 that "when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." Thus, in order for the nation to be successful in sustaining its resources, "linkages" will need to be built among federal, state, and local governments; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and the private sector. The National Research Council (NRC) was asked by several federal agencies, foundations, and the private sector to provide guidance to the federal government on issues related to sustainability linkages. The NRC assigned the task to as committee with a wide range of expertise in government, academia, and business. The committee held public fact-finding meetings to hear from agencies and stakeholder groups; examined sustainability management examples; conducted extensive literature reviews; and more to address the issue. Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connection and Governance Linkages is the committee's report on the issue. The report includes insight into high-priority areas for governance linkages, the challenges of managing connected systems, impediments to successful government linkages, and more. The report also features examples of government linkages which include Adaptive Management on the Platte River, Philadelphia's Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Managing Land Use in the Mojave.
Innovation has been a major engine of American economic and societal progress. It has increased per capita income more than sevenfold since the 19th century, has added three decades to the average lifespan, has revolutionized the way we communicate and share information, and has made the United States the strongest military power in the world. Without its historical leadership in innovation, the United States would be a very different country than it is today. Trends in the Innovation Ecosystem is the summary of two workshops hosted by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine in February and May, 2013. Experts from industry, academia, and finance met to discuss the challenges involved in innovation pathways. Both workshops focused on the interactions between research universities and industry and the concept of innovation as a "culture" as opposed to an operational method. The goal was to gain a better understanding of what key factors contributed to successful innovations in the past, how today's environment might necessitate changes in strategy, and what changes are likely to occur in the future in the context of a global innovation ecosystem. This report discusses the state of innovation in America, obstacles to both innovation and to reaping the benefits of innovation, and ways of overcoming those obstacles.
The two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, February 12, 2009, occurred at a critical time for the United States and the world. In honor of Darwin's birthday, the National Research Council appointed a committee under the auspices of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for DIVERSITAS to plan a Symposium on Twenty-first Century Ecosystems. The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects. The aim was to help inform new policy approaches that could satisfy human needs while also maintaining the integrity of the goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems over both the short and the long terms. This report summarizes the views expressed by symposium participants; however, it does not provide a session-by-session summary of the presentations at the symposium. Instead, the symposium steering committee identified eight key themes that emerged from the lectures, which were addressed in different contexts by different speakers. The focus here is on general principles rather than specifics. These eight themes provide a sharp focus on a few concepts that enable scientists, environmental NGOs, and policy makers to engage more effectively around issues of central importance for biodiversity and ecosystem management.
In the fall of 2010, the U.S. National Academies (consisting of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences) initiated a joint study of U.S.-Russian bilateral engagement in the biological sciences and biotechnology (hereinafter collectively referred to as bioengagement). The U.S. Department of State and the Russian Academy of Sciences provided support for the study. The academies established a joint committee of 12 leading scientists from the two countries to assess bioengagement activities since 1996 and to provide recommendations as to collaborative efforts in the near future. The Unique U.S.-Russian Relationship in Biological Science and Biotechnology: Recent Experience and Future Directions summarizes the principal conclusions and recommendations of the study.
The U.S. veterinary medical profession contributes to society in diverse ways, from developing drugs and protecting the food supply to treating companion animals and investigating animal diseases in the wild. In a study of the issues related to the veterinary medical workforce, including demographics, workforce supply, trends affecting job availability, and capacity of the educational system to fill future demands, a National Research Council committee found that the profession faces important challenges in maintaining the economic sustainability of veterinary practice and education, building its scholarly foundations, and evolving veterinary service to meet changing societal needs. Many concerns about the profession came into focus following the outbreak of West Nile fever in 1999, and the subsequent outbreaks of SARS, monkeypox, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, highly pathogenic avian influenza, H1N1 influenza, and a variety of food safety and environmental issues heightened public concerns. They also raised further questions about the directions of veterinary medicine and the capacity of public health service the profession provides both in the United States and abroad. To address some of the problems facing the veterinary profession, greater public and private support for education and research in veterinary medicine is needed. The public, policymakers, and even medical professionals are frequently unaware of how veterinary medicine fundamentally supports both animal and human health and well-being. This report seeks to broaden the public's understanding and attempts to anticipate some of the needs and measures that are essential for the profession to fulfill given its changing roles in the 21st century.
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