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The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires the states to develop a single, computerized voter registration data base (VRD) that is defined, maintained, and administered at the state level. To help the states with this task, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission asked the NRC to organize a series of workshops and prepare an interim report addressing the challenges in implementing and maintaining state VRDs. The EAC also asked the NRC to advise the states on how to evolve and maintain the databases so that they can share information with each other. This report provides an examination of various challenges to the deployment of state VRDs and describes potential solutions to these challenges. This interim report’s primary focus is on shorter-term recommendations although a number of long-range recommendations are presented. The final report will elaborate on the long-range questions and address considerations about interstate interoperability of the VRDs.
Respiratory Diseases Research at NIOSH: Reviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healthby National Research Council Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
Respiratory diseases caused by exposures to dangerous materials in the workplace have tremendous implications for worker health and, by extension, the national economy. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that deaths from work-related respiratory diseases and cancers account for about 70% of all occupational disease deaths. NIOSH conducts research in order to detect and reduce work-related hazardous exposures, injuries, and diseases; its Respiratory Disease Research Program (RDRP) focuses on respiratory diseases. This National Research Council book reviews the RDRP to evaluate the 1) relevance of its work to improvements in occupational safety and health and 2) the impact of research in reducing workplace respiratory illnesses. The assessment reveals that the program has made essential contributions to preventing occupational respiratory disease. The National Research Council has rated the Program a 5 out of 5 for relevance, and a 4 out of 5 for impact. To further increase its effectiveness, the Respiratory Disease Research Program should continue and expand its current efforts, provide resources for occupational disease surveillance, and include exposure assessment scientists in its activities.
Today’s military missions have shifted away from fighting nation states using conventional weapons toward combating insurgents and terrorist networks in a battlespace in which the attitudes and behaviors of civilian noncombatants may be the primary effects of military actions. To support these new missions, the military services are increasingly interested in using models of the behavior of humans, as individuals and in groups of various kinds and sizes. Behavioral Modeling and Simulation reviews relevant individual, organizational, and societal (IOS) modeling research programs, evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the programs and their methodologies, determines which have the greatest potential for military use, and provides guidance for the design of a research program to effectively foster the development of IOS models useful to the military. This book will be of interest to model developers, operational military users of the models and their managers, and government personnel making funding decisions regarding model development.
Antarctica is the center from which all surrounding continental bodies separated millions of years ago. Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World, reinforces the importance of continual changes in the country's history and the impact of these changes on global systems. The book also places emphasis on deciphering the climate records in ice cores, geologic cores, rock outcrops and those inferred from climate models. New technologies for the coming decades of geoscience data collection are also highlighted. Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World is a collection of papers that were presented by keynote speakers at the 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. It is of interest to policy makers, researchers and scientific institutions.
Over the past 25 years, the United States has made support for the spread of democracy to other nations an increasingly important element of its national security policy. These efforts have created a growing demand to find the most effective means to assist in building and strengthening democratic governance under varied conditions. Since 1990, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported democracy and governance (DG) programs in approximately 120 countries and territories, spending an estimated total of $8.47 billion (in constant 2000 U.S. dollars) between 1990 and 2005. Despite these substantial expenditures, our understanding of the actual impacts of USAID DG assistance on progress toward democracy remains limited—and is the subject of much current debate in the policy and scholarly communities. This book, by the National Research Council, provides a roadmap to enable USAID and its partners to assess what works and what does not, both retrospectively and in the future through improved monitoring and evaluation methods and rebuilding USAID’s internal capacity to build, absorb, and act on improved knowledge.
Ballistic Imaging assesses the state of computer-based imaging technology in forensic firearms identification. The book evaluates the current law enforcement database of images of crime-related cartridge cases and bullets and recommends ways to improve the usefulness of the technology for suggesting leads in criminal investigations. It also advises against the construction of a national reference database that would include images from test-fires of every newly manufactured or imported firearm in the United States. The book also suggests further research on an alternate method for generating an investigative lead to the location where a gun was first sold: “microstamping,” the direct imprinting of unique identifiers on firearm parts or ammunition.
Questions about the origin and nature of Earth and the life on it have long preoccupied human thought and the scientific endeavor. Deciphering the planet's history and processes could improve the ability to predict catastrophes like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to manage Earth's resources, and to anticipate changes in climate and geologic processes. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Geological Survey, the National Research Council assembled a committee to propose and explore grand questions in geological and planetary science. This book captures, in a series of questions, the essential scientific challenges that constitute the frontier of Earth science at the start of the 21st century.
The federal government plays the predominant role in supporting research and development (R&D) and in establishing public policies that affect science and technology (S&T) in the United States. However, the federal government is no longer the sole focus of R&D funding and S&T policy making. State and local policy makers are unquestionably making more and more decisions that affect all of us on a daily basis. With this shift, states have also assumed an increasing responsibility for developing, formalizing, and institutionalizing policies and programs that support R&D and enable S&T evidence and expertise to be incorporated into policy making. These issues were explored during a first-of-its-kind National Convocation organized by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine in collaboration with the National Association of Academies of Science and the California Council on Science and Technology. Scientists, engineers, state policy makers, experts from state regulatory agencies, representatives from foundations, and experts in scientific communication from 20 states and the District of Columbia participated in this event. This report highlights the major themes from the Convocation that emerged from the presentations and from the rich discussions that occurred in both plenary and breakout sessions.
Scientists have long desired to create synthetic systems that function with the precision and efficiency of biological systems. Using new techniques, researchers are now uncovering principles that could allow the creation of synthetic materials that can perform tasks as precise as biological systems. To assess the current work and future promise of the biology-materials science intersection, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation asked the NRC to identify the most compelling questions and opportunities at this interface, suggest strategies to address them, and consider connections with national priorities such as healthcare and economic growth. This book presents a discussion of principles governing biomaterial design, a description of advanced materials for selected functions such as energy and national security, an assessment of biomolecular materials research tools, and an examination of infrastructure and resources for bridging biological and materials science.
The threat from the degradation of materials in the engineered products that drive our economy, keep our citizenry healthy, and keep us safe from terrorism and belligerent threats has been well documented over the years. And yet little effort appears to have been made to apply the nation's engineering community to developing a better understanding of corrosion and the mitigation of its effects. The engineering workforce must have a solid understanding of the physical and chemical bases of corrosion, as well as an understanding of the engineering issues surrounding corrosion and corrosion abatement. Nonetheless, corrosion engineering is not a required course in the curriculum of most bachelor degree programs in MSE and related engineering fields, and in many programs, the subject is not even available. As a result, most bachelor-level graduates of materials- and design-related programs have an inadequate background in corrosion engineering principles and practices. To combat this problem, the book makes a number of short- and long-term recommendations to industry and government agencies, educational institutions, and communities to increase education and awareness, and ultimately give the incoming workforce the knowledge they need.
In early 2007, the Institute of Medicine convened the Roundtable on Health Disparities to increase the visibility of racial and ethnic health disparities as a national problem, to further the development of programs and strategies to reduce disparities, to foster the emergence of leadership on this issue, and to track promising activities and developments in health care that could lead to dramatically reducing or eliminating disparities. The Roundtable’s first workshop, Challenges and Successes in Reducing Health Disparities, was held in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 31, 2007, and examined (1) the importance of differences in life expectancy within the United States, (2) the reasons for those differences, and (3) the implications of this information for programs and policy makers.
A new book from the National Research Council recommends changes in how the federal government evaluates the efficiency of research at EPA and other agencies. Assessing efficiency should be considered only one part of gauging a program's quality, relevance, and effectiveness. The efficiency of research processes and that of investments should be evaluated using different approaches. Investment efficiency should examine whether an agency's R&D portfolio, including the budget, is relevant, of high quality, matches the agency's strategic plan. These evaluations require panels of experts. In contrast, process efficiency should focus on "inputs" (the people, funds, and facilities dedicated to research) and "outputs" (the services, grants, publications, monitoring, and new techniques produced by research), as well as their timelines and should be evaluated using quantitative measures. The committee recommends that the efficiency of EPA's research programs be evaluated according to the same standards used at other agencies. To ensure this, OMB should train and oversee its budget examiners so that the PART questionnaire is implemented consistently and equitably across agencies.
Until fairly recently, genetic information was used primarily in the diagnosis of relatively rare genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s Disease, but a transformation in the use of genetic and genomic information is underway. While many predictions have been made that genomics will transform medicine, to date few of these promising discoveries have resulted in actual applications in medicine and health. The Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health, established in 2007, held its first workshop to address the following questions: 1. Are there different pathways by which new scientific findings move from the research setting into health care? 2. If so, what are the implications of those different pathways for genomics? 3. What can we learn from the translation of other new technologies as we seek to understand the translation of genome science into health care? Information obtained from the workshop was then used to further discussion and exploration of the answers to these questions. This book summarizes speaker presentations and discussions. Any conclusions reported should not be construed as reflecting a group consensus; rather they are the statements and opinions of presenters and participants.
Design Considerations for Evaluating the Impact of PEPFAR is the summary of a 2-day workshop on methodological, policy, and practical design considerations for a future evaluation of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) interventions carried out under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on April 30 and May 1, 2007. Participants at the workshop included staff of the U.S. Congress; PEPFAR officials and implementers; major multilateral organizations such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis (The Global Fund), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the World Bank; representatives from international nongovernmental organizations; experienced evaluation experts; and representatives of partner countries, particularly the PEPFAR focus countries. The workshop represented a final element of the work of the congressionally mandated IOM Committee for the Evaluation of PEPFAR Implementation, which published a report of its findings in 2007 evaluating the first 2 years of implementation, but could not address longer term impact evaluation questions.
Scientists and clinicians seek a new paradigm that could improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and overall success rate of cancer clinical trials, while maintaining the highest standards of quality. To explore innovative paradigms for cancer clinical trials and other ways to improve their quality, the National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop, Improving the Quality of Cancer Clinical Trials, in Washington, DC. The main goals of the workshop were to examine new approaches to clinical trial design and execution that would: (1) better inform decisions and plans of those responsible for developing new cancer therapies (2) more rapidly move new diagnostic tests and treatments toward regulatory approval and use in the clinic (3) be less costly than current trials The resulting workshop summary will serve as input to the deliberations of an Institute of Medicine committee that will develop consensus-based recommendations for moving the field of cancer clinical trials forward.
Many voluntary health organizations fund translational research. An increasing number of these organizations are looking at venture philanthropy as a critical way to advance their missions of helping patients and working to cure disease. A wide range of participants gathered on October 3, 2008 at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Science for a workshop titled "Venture Philanthropy Strategies Used by Patient Organizations to Support Translational Research." Participants with experience in venture philanthropy shared their experiences and lessons learned in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness in translational research.
Technological innovations are key causal agents of surprise and disruption. In the recent past, the United States military has encountered unexpected challenges in the battlefield due in part to the adversary's incorporation of technologies not traditionally associated with weaponry. Recognizing the need to broaden the scope of current technology forecasting efforts, the Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) tasked the Committee for Forecasting Future Disruptive Technologies with providing guidance and insight on how to build a persistent forecasting system to predict, analyze, and reduce the impact of the most dramatically disruptive technologies. The first of two reports, this volume analyzes existing forecasting methods and processes. It then outlines the necessary characteristics of a comprehensive forecasting system that integrates data from diverse sources to identify potentially game-changing technological innovations and facilitates informed decision making by policymakers. The committee's goal was to help the reader understand current forecasting methodologies, the nature of disruptive technologies and the characteristics of a persistent forecasting system for disruptive technology. Persistent Forecasting of Disruptive Technologies is a useful text for the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, the Intelligence community and other defense agencies across the nation.
Creating a Business Case for Quality Improvement Research focuses on issues related to improving the science supporting health care quality and eliminating communication barriers that prevent advances in the field. In 2007, the Institute of Medicine convened a workshop designed to identify the economic and business disciplines that encourage sustained efforts to improve the quality of health care. Workshop presenters and participants included representatives from academia, government and industry. A business case for quality improvement depends heavily on the progress made in the following areas: systems change and leadership, data transparency, funding, enhanced training programs and ongoing dialogue between industry officials, patients and their families. They identified a major barrier to these efforts as the nationwide institutional reluctance to invest in quality improvement and documentation of outcomes, due largely to limited resources and competing priorities as to how these resources are spent in the industry. Too often priorities are placed on creating highly-visible technology-driven programs, with less emphasis in meeting the needs and expectations of the patients. In Creating a Business Case for Quality Improvement Research, a diverse group of stakeholders identifies and assesses these and other challenges to attain a better understanding of how to create a high-value health care system for the general population.
In January 2004 NASA was given a new policy direction known as the Vision for Space Exploration. That plan, now renamed the United States Space Exploration Policy, called for sending human and robotic missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. In 2005 NASA outlined how to conduct the first steps in implementing this policy and began the development of a new human-carrying spacecraft known as Orion, the lunar lander known as Altair, and the launch vehicles Ares I and Ares V. Collectively, these are called the Constellation System. In November 2007 NASA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate the potential for new science opportunities enabled by the Constellation System of rockets and spacecraft. The NRC committee evaluated a total of 17 mission concepts for future space science missions. Of those, the committee determined that 12 would benefit from the Constellation System and five would not. This book presents the committee's findings and recommendations, including cost estimates, a review of the technical feasibility of each mission, and identification of the missions most deserving of future study.
The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership is a collaborative effort among the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), and five major energy companies to manage research that will enable the vision of a clean and sustainable transportation energy future. It envisions a transition from more efficient internal combustion engines (ICEs), to advanced ICE hybrid electric vehicles, and to enabling a private-sector decision by 2015 on hydrogen-fueled vehicle development. At the request of DOE, the NRC has undertaken an effort to provide biennial reviews of the progress of the research program. Phase I of that review was described in a book issued in 2005. This second book presents an assessment of the progress in the research program management areas as well as the responses of program management to recommendations provided in the Phase I report. Covered in this second book are major crosscutting issues; vehicle subsystems; hydrogen production, delivery, and dispensing; and an overall assessment of the program.
The debate over offshoring of production, transfer of technological capabilities, and potential loss of U.S. competitiveness is a long-running one. Prevailing thinking is that “the world is flat”—that is, innovative capacity is spreading uniformly; as new centers of manufacturing emerge, research and development and new product development follow. Innovation in Global Industries challenges this thinking. The book, a collection of individually authored studies, examines in detail structural changes in the innovation process in 10 service as well as manufacturing industries: personal computers; semiconductors; flat-panel displays; software; lighting; biotechnology; pharmaceuticals; financial services; logistics; and venture capital. There is no doubt that overall there has been an acceleration in global sourcing of innovation and an emergence of new locations of research capacity and advanced technical skills, but the patterns are highly variable. Many industries and some firms in nearly all industries retain leading-edge capacity in the United States. However, the book concludes that is no reason for complacency about the future outlook. Innovation deserves more emphasis in firm performance measures and more sustained support in public policy. Innovation in Global Industries will be of special interest to business people and government policy makers as well as professors, students, and other researchers of economics, management, international affairs, and political science.
Dietary supplements are widely available through a rapidly expanding market of products commonly advertised as beneficial for health, performance enhancement, and disease prevention. Given the importance and frequent evaluation of physical performance and health as a criteria to join and remain in the military, the use of these products by military personnel has raised concern regarding over-all and long-term efficacy and safety. This evaluation is especially difficult, as many of these supplements contain multiple ingredients, have a changing composition over time, or are used intermittently at doses difficult to measure. This book analyzes the patterns of dietary supplement use among military personnel, examines published reviews of the scientific evidence, and identifies those dietary supplements that are beneficial and/or warrant concern due to risks to health or performance. The book also recommends a system to monitor adverse health effects and a framework to identify the need for active management of dietary supplements by military personnel. Military policy makers, personnel, and recruits will find this book useful, as will nutritionists, athletes, and others working in strenuous environments.
The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board and the National Research Council's Policy and Global Affairs Division convened a workshop in Washington, D.C., entitled Foodborne Disease and Public Health: An Iranian-American Workshop. The overall goals of this workshop were to facilitate the exchange of ideas about foodborne disease and public health and to promote further collaboration among Americans and Iranians on this topic of mutual interest. Experts invited to participate in this workshop addressed a variety of topics, ranging from the surveillance of outbreaks of foodborne illness to approaches to medical training in the Iranian and U.S. educational systems. The workshop was part of a series of cooperative efforts between the United States and Iran as the two countries have collaborated in the past on similar projects relating to foodborne disease.
Recognizing that innovation is the key to international competitiveness in the 21st century, policymakers around the world are seeking more effective ways to translate scientific and technological knowledge into new products, processes, and businesses. They have initiated major programs, often with substantial funding, that are designed to attract, nurture, and support innovation and high-technology industries within their national economies. To help U.S. policymakers become more aware of these developments, a committee of the National Academies' Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy undertook a review of the goals, concept, structure, operation, funding levels, and evaluation efforts of significant innovation programs around the world. As a part of this effort, the committee identified Flanders, a region of Belgium with substantial autonomy, which is recognized for its comprehensive approach to innovation. Based on initial meetings in Washington and Brussels, and with the endorsement of Flanders Vice Minister-President Fientje Moerman, it was agreed to organize a conference that would review regional innovation policies in the context of the policies and programs of the Flanders government, and their interaction with those of the European Union. This book provides a summary of that symposium.
Energy touches our lives in countless ways and its costs are felt when we fill up at the gas pump, pay our home heating bills, and keep businesses both large and small running. There are long-term costs as well: to the environment, as natural resources are depleted and pollution contributes to global climate change, and to national security and independence, as many of the world's current energy sources are increasingly concentrated in geopolitically unstable regions. The country's challenge is to develop an energy portfolio that addresses these concerns while still providing sufficient, affordable energy reserves for the nation. The United States has enormous resources to put behind solutions to this energy challenge; the dilemma is to identify which solutions are the right ones. Before deciding which energy technologies to develop, and on what timeline, we need to understand them better. America's Energy Future analyzes the potential of a wide range of technologies for generation, distribution, and conservation of energy. This book considers technologies to increase energy efficiency, coal-fired power generation, nuclear power, renewable energy, oil and natural gas, and alternative transportation fuels. It offers a detailed assessment of the associated impacts and projected costs of implementing each technology and categorizes them into three time frames for implementation.
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