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Clinical trials provide essential information needed to turn basic medical research findings into patient treatments. New treatments must be studied in large numbers of humans to find out whether they are effective and to assess any harm that may arise from treatment. There is growing recognition among many stakeholders that the U.S. clinical trials enterprise is unable to keep pace with the national demand for research results. The IOM, along with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, held a workshop June 27-28, 2011, to engage stakeholders and experts in a discussion about possible solutions to improve public engagement in clinical trials.
The global scientific and policy community now unequivocally accepts that human activities cause global climate change. Although information on climate change is readily available, the nation still seems unprepared or unwilling to respond effectively to climate change, due partly to a general lack of public understanding of climate change issues and opportunities for effective responses. The reality of global climate change lends increasing urgency to the need for effective education on earth system science, as well as on the human and behavioral dimensions of climate change, from broad societal action to smart energy choices at the household level. The public's limited understanding of climate change is partly the result of four critical challenges that have slowed development and delivery of effective climate change education. As one response to these challenges, Congress, in its 2009 and 2010 appropriation process, requested that the National Science Foundation (NSF) create a program in climate change education to provide funding to external grantees to improve climate change education in the United States. To support and strengthen these education initiatives, the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council (NRC) created the Climate Change Education Roundtable. The Roundtable convened two workshops. Climate Change Education Goals, Audiences, and Strategies is a summary of the discussions and presentations from the first workshop, held October 21 and 22, 2010. This report focuses on two primary topics: public understanding and decision maker support. It should be viewed as an initial step in examining the research on climate change and applying it in specific policy circumstances.
The Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR) of the National Weather Service (NWS) was a large and complex re-engineering of a federal agency. The process lasted a decade and cost an estimated $4.5 billion. The result was greater integration of science into weather service activities and improved outreach and coordination with users of weather information. The MAR created a new, modernized NWS, and, significantly, it created a framework that will allow the NWS to keep up with technological changes in a more evolutionary manner. The MAR was both necessary and generally well executed. However, it required revolutionary, often difficult, changes. The procurement of large, complex technical systems presented challenges in and of itself. The MAR also affected the career paths and personal lives of a large portion of the field office workforce. The MAR created a new, modernized NWS, and, significantly, it created a framework that will allow the NWS to keep up with technological changes in a more evolutionary manner. The National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring presents the first comprehensive assessment of the execution of the MAR and its impact on the provision of weather services in the United States. This report provides an assessment that addresses the past modernization as well as lessons learned to support future improvements to NWS capabilities.
For the past decade, the U.S. Marine Corps and its sister services have been engaged in what has been termed "hybrid warfare," which ranges from active combat to civilian support. Hybrid warfare typically occurs in environments where all modes of war are employed, such as conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism, disruptive technologies, and criminality to destabilize an existing order. In August 2010, the National Research Council established the Committee on Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders to produce Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders. This report examines the operational environment, existing abilities, and gap to include data, technology, skill sets, training, and measures of effectiveness for small unit leaders in conducting enhanced company operations (ECOs) in hybrid engagement, complex environments. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders also determines how to understand the decision making calculus and indicators of adversaries. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders recommends operational and technical approaches for improving the decision making abilities of small unit leaders, including any acquisition and experimentation efforts that can be undertaken by the Marine Corps and/or by other stakeholders aimed specifically at improving the decision making of small unit leaders. This report recommends ways to ease the burden on small unit leaders and to better prepare the small unit leader for success. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders also indentifies a responsible organization to ensure that training and education programs are properly developed, staffed, operated, evaluated, and expanded.
Summary of the Workshop to Identify Gaps and Possible Directions for NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programsby The National Academy of Sciences
A Summary of the Workshop to Identify the Gaps and Possible Directions for NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programssummarizes the two-day workshop held on March 9-10, 2011, where various stakeholders presented diverse perspectives on matters concerning NASA Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) programs, NASA mission operators, the role and relationships of NASA MMOD programs to other federal agencies, MMOD and the commercial industry, and orbital debris retrieval and removal. The report assesses NASA's existing efforts, policies, and organizations with regard to orbital debris and micrometeoroids by creating advisory dialogue on potential opportunities for program enhancement and maintenance practices.
On May 8, 2009, the symposium, The Federal Statistical System: Recognizing Its Contributions, Moving It Forward was held in Washington, DC. One of the topics considered at that symposium was the health of innovation in the federal statistical system. A consequence of the symposium was an agreement by the Committee on National Statistics to hold a workshop on the future of innovation in the federal statistical system. This workshop was held on June 29, 2010. The original statement of task for the workshop focused on three challenges to the statistical system: (1) the obstacles to innovative, focused research and development initiatives that could make statistical programs more cost effective; (2) a gap between emerging data visualization and communications technologies and the ability of statistical agencies to understand and capitalize on these developments for their data dissemination programs; and (3) the maturation of the information technology (IT) discipline and the difficulties confronting individual agencies in keeping current with best practice in IT regarding data confidentiality. This report, Facilitating Innovation in the Federal Statistical System, is a descriptive summary of what transpired at the workshop. It is therefore limited to the views and opinions of the workshop participants. However, it does not strictly follow the agenda of the workshop, which had four sessions. Instead, it is organized around the themes of the discussions, which migrated across the four sessions.
Ten years after the sequencing of the human genome, scientists have developed genetic tests that can predict a person's response to certain drugs, estimate the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, and make other predictions based on known links between genes and diseases. However, genetic tests have yet to become a routine part of medical care, in part because there is not enough evidence to show they help improve patients' health. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a workshop to explore how researchers can gather better evidence more efficiently on the clinical utility of genetic tests. Generating Evidence for Genomic Diagnostic Test Development compares the evidence that is required for decisions regarding clearance, use, and reimbursement, to the evidence that is currently generated. The report also addresses innovative and efficient ways to generate high-quality evidence, as well as barriers to generating this evidence. Generating Evidence for Genomic Diagnostic Test Development contains information that will be of great value to regulators and policymakers, payers, health-care providers, researchers, funders, and evidence-based review groups.
How Communities Can Use Risk Assessment Results: Making Ends Meet: A Summary of the June 3, 2010 Workshop of the Disasters Roundtableby National Research Council of the National Academies
The polar regions are experiencing rapid changes in climate. These changes are causing observable ecological impacts of various types and degrees of severity at all ecosystem levels, including society. Even larger changes and more significant impacts are anticipated. As species respond to changing environments over time, their interactions with the physical world and other organisms can also change. This chain of interactions can trigger cascades of impacts throughout entire ecosystems. Evaluating the interrelated physical, chemical, biological, and societal components of polar ecosystems is essential to understanding their vulnerability and resilience to climate forcing. The Polar Research Board (PRB) organized a workshop to address these issues. Experts gathered from a variety of disciplines with knowledge of both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Participants were challenged to consider what is currently known about climate change and polar ecosystems and to identify the next big questions in the field. A set of interdisciplinary "frontier questions" emerged from the workshop discussions as important topics to be addressed in the coming decades. To begin to address these questions, workshop participants discussed the need for holistic, interdisciplinary systems approach to understanding polar ecosystem responses to climate change. As an outcome of the workshop, participants brainstormed methods and technologies that are crucial to advance the understanding of polar ecosystems and to promote the next generation of polar research. These include new and emerging technologies, sustained long-term observations, data synthesis and management, and data dissemination and outreach.
From Neurons to Neighborhoods: An Update: Workshop Summary is based on the original study From Neurons to Neighborhoods: Early Childhood Development, which released in October of 2000. From the time of the original publication's release, much has occurred to cause a fundamental reexamination of the nation's response to the needs of young children and families, drawing upon a wealth of scientific knowledge that has emerged in recent decades. The study shaped policy agendas and intervention efforts at national, state, and local levels. It captured a gratifying level of attention in the United States and around the world and has helped to foster a highly dynamic and increasingly visible science of early childhood development. It contributed to a growing public understanding of the foundational importance of the early childhood years and has stimulated a global conversation about the unmet needs of millions of young children. Ten years later, the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) held a 2-day workshop in Washington, D.C., to review and commemorate a decade of advances related to the mission of the report. The workshop began with a series of highly interactive breakout sessions in which experts in early childhood development examined the four organizing themes of the original report and identified both measurable progress and remaining challenges. The second day of the workshop, speakers chosen for their diverse perspectives on early childhood research and policy issues discussed how to build on the accomplishments of the past decade and to launch the next era in early childhood science, policy, and practice. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: An Update: Workshop Summary emphasizes that there is a single, integrated science of early childhood development despite the extent to which it is carved up and divided among a diversity of professional disciplines, policy sectors, and service delivery systems. While much work still remains to be done to reach this goal, the 2010 workshop demonstrated both the promise of this integrated science and the rich diversity of contributions to that science.
Trends in Science and Technology Relevant to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention: Summary of an International Workshopby National Research Council of the National Academies
This report offers a summary of the substantive presentations during an international workshop, Trends in Science and Technology Relevant to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, held 31 October - 3 November, 2010 at the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is meant to provide scientists and other technical experts with factual information about the range and variety of topics discussed at the workshop, which may be of interest to national governments and non-governmental organizations as they begin to prepare for the 7th Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in 2011. The Beijing workshop reflected the continuing engagement by national academies international scientific organizations, and individual scientists and engineers in considering the biosecurity implications of developments in the life sciences and assessing trends in science and technology (S&T) relevant to nonproliferation. The workshop provided an opportunity for the scientific community to discuss the implications of relevant developments in S&T for multiple aspects of the BWC. Trends in Science and Technology Relevant to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention follows the structure of the plenary sessions at the workshop. It begins with introductory material about the BWC and current examples of the types and modes of science advice available to the BWC and other international nonproliferation and disarmament agreements, in particular the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This report includes only a very brief description of the some of the post-presentation discussions held during the plenary sessions - and does not include an account of the small breakout groups - since these were intended to inform the committee's finding and conclusions and will be reflected in the final report.
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.
Many ongoing changes are likely to have an impact on cancer research and care. For example, technological advances are rapidly changing the way cancer research is conducted, and the recently passed healthcare reform legislation has many implications for cancer care. Technological advances are altering the way cancer research is conducted and cancer care is delivered, and the recently passed healthcare reform legislation has many implications for cancer care. There is a growing emphasis on molecularly targeted therapies, information technology (IT), and patient-centered care, and clinical cancer research has become a global endeavor. At the same time, there are concerns about shrinking research budgets and escalating costs of cancer care. Considering such changes, the National Cancer Policy Forum (NCPF) of the Institute of Medicine held a National Cancer Policy Summit on October 25, 2010. The Summit convened key leaders in the cancer community to identify and discuss the most pressing policy issues in cancer research and cancer care. The National Cancer Policy Summit: Opportunities and Challenges in Cancer Research and Care is a summary of the summit. The report explores policy issues related to cancer research, the implementation of healthcare reform, delivery of cancer care, and cancer control and public health needs. Expert participants suggested many potential actions to provide patient-centered cancer care, to foster more collaboration, and to achieve other goals to improve research and care.
From the interior of the Sun, to the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of Earth, and outward to a region far beyond Pluto where the Sun's influence wanes, advances during the past decade in space physics and solar physics--the disciplines NASA refers to as heliophysics--have yielded spectacular insights into the phenomena that affect our home in space. Solar and Space Physics, from the National Research Council's (NRC's) Committee for a Decadal Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, is the second NRC decadal survey in heliophysics. Building on the research accomplishments realized during the past decade, the report presents a program of basic and applied research for the period 2013-2022 that will improve scientific understanding of the mechanisms that drive the Sun's activity and the fundamental physical processes underlying near-Earth plasma dynamics, determine the physical interactions of Earth's atmospheric layers in the context of the connected Sun-Earth system, and enhance greatly the capability to provide realistic and specific forecasts of Earth's space environment that will better serve the needs of society. Although the recommended program is directed primarily at NASA and the National Science Foundation for action, the report also recommends actions by other federal agencies, especially the parts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charged with the day-to-day (operational) forecast of space weather. In addition to the recommendations included in this summary, related recommendations are presented in this report.
It is as yet uncertain how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will affect the health of clean-up workers and volunteers, residents, and visitors in the Gulf. The IOM recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focus on researching psychological and behavioral health, exposure information to oil and dispersants, seafood safety, communication methods for health studies, and methods for conducting research in order to better understand and mitigate the effects on human health for this oil spill and for future disasters.
The Importance of Common Metrics for Advancing Social Science Theory and Research: A Workshop Summaryby National Research Council of the National Academies
In February 2010, the National Research Council convened a workshop to investigate the feasibility of developing well-grounded common metrics to advance behavioral and social science research, both in terms of advancing the development of theory and increasing the utility of research for policy and practice. The Workshop on Advancing Social Science Theory: The Importance of Common Metrics had three goals: To examine the benefits and costs involved in moving from metric diversity to greater standardization, both in terms of advancing the development of theory and increasing the utility of research for policy and practice. To consider whether a set of criteria can be developed for understanding when the measurement of a particular construct is ready to be standardized. To explore how the research community can foster a move toward standardization when it appears warranted. This book is a summary of the two days of presentations and discussions that took place during the workshop.
Natural disasters--including hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods--caused over 220,000 deaths worldwide in the first half of 2010 and wreaked havoc on homes, buildings, and the environment. To withstand and recover from natural and human-caused disasters, it is essential that citizens and communities work together to anticipate threats, limit their effects, and rapidly restore functionality after a crisis. Increasing evidence indicates that collaboration between the private and public sectors could improve the ability of a community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Several previous National Research Council reports have identified specific examples of the private and public sectors working cooperatively to reduce the effects of a disaster by implementing building codes, retrofitting buildings, improving community education, or issuing extreme-weather warnings. State and federal governments have acknowledged the importance of collaboration between private and public organizations to develop planning for disaster preparedness and response. Despite growing ad hoc experience across the country, there is currently no comprehensive framework to guide private-public collaboration focused on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Building Community Disaster Resilience through Private-Public Collaboration assesses the current state of private-public sector collaboration dedicated to strengthening community resilience, identifies gaps in knowledge and practice, and recommends research that could be targeted for investment. Specifically, the book finds that local-level private-public collaboration is essential to the development of community resilience. Sustainable and effective resilience-focused private-public collaboration is dependent on several basic principles that increase communication among all sectors of the community, incorporate flexibility into collaborative networks, and encourage regular reassessment of collaborative missions, goals, and practices.
Today, scores of companies, primarily in the United States and Europe, are offering whole genome scanning services directly to the public. The proliferation of these companies and the services they offer demonstrate a public appetite for this information and where the future of genetics may be headed; they also demonstrate the need for serious discussion about the regulatory environment, patient privacy, and other policy implications of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. Rapid advances in genetic research already have begun to transform clinical practice and our understanding of disease progression. Existing research has revealed a genetic basis or component for numerous diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, and several forms of cancer. The availability of the human genome sequence and the HapMap, plummeting costs of high-throughput screening, and increasingly sophisticated computational analyses have led to an explosion of discoveries of linkages between patterns of genetic variation and disease susceptibility. While this research is by no means a straight path toward better public health, improved knowledge of the genetic linkages has the potential to change fundamentally the way health professionals and public health practitioners approach the prevention and treatment of disease. Realizing this potential will require greater sophistication in the interpretation of genetic tests, new training for physicians and other diagnosticians, and new approaches to communicating findings to the public. As this rapidly growing field matures, all of these questions require attention from a variety of perspectives. To discuss some of the foregoing issues, several units of the National Academies held a workshop on August 31 and September 1, 2009, to bring together a still-developing community of professionals from a variety of relevant disciplines, to educate the public and policy-makers about this emerging field, and to identify issues for future study. The meeting featured several invited presentations and discussions on the many technical, legal, policy, and ethical questions that such DTC testing raises, including: (1) overview of the current state of knowledge and the future research trajectory; (2) shared genes and emerging issues in privacy; (3) the regulatory framework; and (4) education of the public and the medical community.
Nearly 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and 26.6 million people are affected worldwide. The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a public-private partnership, provides a publicly available, international database of clinical and imaging data to foster research and collaboration on Alzheimer's research worldwide. The Institute of Medicine held a workshop on July 12, 2010, to explore opportunities to use information from and partnerships formed because of ADNI to continue to improve the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) is a national user facility whose mission is to ensure the availability of neutron measurement capabilities in order to meet the needs of U.S. researchers from industry, academia, and government agencies. This mission is aligned with the mission of NIST, which is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve the quality of life. As requested by the Deputy Director of NIST, this book assesses NCNR, based on the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Building and Fire Research Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council assessed the scientific and technical work of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The scope of the assessment included the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to the current state of the art worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works with industry, standards bodies, universities, and other government laboratories to improve the nation's measurements and standards infrastructure for materials. A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) assessed the four divisions of MSEL, by visiting these divisions and reviewing their activities.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The mission of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to promote innovation and the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing through measurement science, measurement services, and critical technical contributions to standards. The MEL is organized in five divisions: Intelligent Systems, Manufacturing Metrology, Manufacturing Systems Integration, Precision Engineering, and Fabrication Technology. A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) assessed the first four divisions.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Physics Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The mission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Physics Laboratory is to support U.S. industry, government, and the scientific community by providing measurement services and research for electronic, optical, and radiation technology. In this respect, the laboratory provides the foundation for the metrology of optical and ionizing radiations, time and frequency, and fundamental quantum processes, historically major areas of standards and technology. The Panel on Physics visited the six divisions of the laboratory and reviewed a selected sample of their programs and projects.
The implications of climate change for the environment and society depend on the rate and magnitude of climate change, but also on changes in technology, economics, lifestyles, and policy that will affect the capacity both for limiting and adapting to climate change. Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment reviews the state of science for considering socioeconomic changes over long time frames and clarifies definitions and concepts to facilitate communication across research communities. The book also explores driving forces and key uncertainties that will affect impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation in the future. Furthermore, it considers research needs and the elements of a strategy for describing socioeconomic and environmental futures for climate change research and assessment. Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment explores the current state of science in scenario development and application, asserting that while little attention has been given to preparing quantitative and narrative socioeconomic information, advances in computing capacity are making development of such probabilistic scenarios a reality. It also addresses a number of specific methodological challenges and opportunities and discusses opportunities for a next round of assessments.
The passive, receive-only Radio Astronomy Service (RAS) and the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (EESS) provide otherwise impossible scientific observations of the Universe and Earth through the use of advanced receiver technology with extreme sensitivity and the employment of complex noise reduction algorithms. Even with such technology, RAS and EESS are quite adversely affected by what most active services would consider low noise levels. To ensure their ability to use the radio spectrum for scientific purposes, scientists must be party to the discussion in the lead-up to the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), which will next be held in January and February 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. By request of the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Research Council was convened to provide guidance to the U.S. spectrum managers and policymakers as they prepare for the WRC in order to protect the scientific exploration of the Earth and Universe using the radio spectrum. While the resulting document is targeted at U.S. agencies, representatives of foreign governments and foreign scientific users will find its contents useful as they plan their own WRC positions.
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