New Report Describes Options for Providing Affordable Flood Insurance Premiums

March 26, 2015

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces dual challenges of maintaining affordable flood insurance premiums for property owners and ensuring that revenues from premiums and fees cover claims and program expenses over time. A new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council found that these objectives are not always compatible and may, at times, conflict with each another. The report discusses measures that could make insurance more affordable for all policy holders and provides a framework for policymakers to use in designing targeted assistance programs. Read More

Assessing Agent-Based Models for Tobacco Regulation

March 25, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broad regulatory authority over tobacco products and uses models as one tool to help guide policy. Recently, FDA has been exploring the usefulness of a particular modeling approach — agent-based models (ABM) — to inform its decisions. A new report from the Institute of Medicine says that ABMs are a useful tool and could add to the understanding of tobacco initiation, cessation, and relapse processes. While a particular ABM developed for FDA, titled Social Network Analysis for Policy on Directed Graph Networks, does not accurately represent many of the important characteristics of tobacco use, much can be learned from its development that could be applied to future models of tobacco use. Read More

U.S. Engineering Schools Commit to Educate 20,000 'Grand Challenge Engineers'

March 23, 2015

In a letter of commitment presented to President Obama today, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. Read More

Raising Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes to at Least 21 Would Reduce Smoking Prevalence and Save Lives, Says IOM

March 12, 2015

Increasing the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products would prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly those ages 15 to 17, and improve the health of Americans across the lifespan, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The committee that conducted the study estimated the likely reduction in tobacco-use initiation that would be achieved by raising the MLA to 19, 21, or 25, and used two tobacco-use simulation models to quantify the public health outcomes. Read More

Review of VA Clinical Guidance Document for Camp Lejeune Legislation

March 11, 2015

A new report from the Institute of Medicine offers recommendations to enhance a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs draft clinical guidance document intended to help health care providers determine whether a veteran or family member has a medical condition that is covered by the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The study committee that reviewed the document said that the VA has done a commendable job in dealing with a scientifically and administratively complex task.

New NAS Prize for Convergence Research

March 5, 2015

The National Academy of Sciences announced today the creation of the new Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research. A generous gift from the Sacklers and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation will endow the prize, to be presented annually beginning this year with an inaugural $400,000 award. The prize will recognize significant advances in convergence research -- the integration of two or more of the following disciplines: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, biology, astronomy, earth sciences, engineering, and computational science -- for achievements possible only through such integration. This year's prize will be awarded for convergence research that benefits human health. Two-thirds of the prize money will be awarded to the selected researcher(s), and the remaining third will go to support the researcher's work.

Amid Challenges Facing Manufacturing Sector, U.S. Must Strengthen Innovation, Productivity, and Workforce Training

March 2, 2015

Given that globalization, technological advances, and changing business practices are dramatically transforming employment and operations across the board in manufacturing, U.S. companies, government, and educators should partner to strengthen workforce training and improve innovation and productivity to ensure manufacturers are "making value" for customers, says a new report from the National Academy of Engineering. Making value is the process of using ingenuity to convert resources into goods, services, or processes that create solutions, serving the welfare of humanity and the needs of society. Read More

PNAS Announces Prize-Winning Papers

Feb. 27, 2015

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has selected six papers from the more than 3,500 research articles published by the journal in 2014 to receive the Cozzarelli Prize, an award that recognizes scientific excellence and originality and outstanding contributions to the scientific disciplines represented by the National Academy of Sciences. The award was established in 2005 and named in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. Read More

Neil deGrasse Tyson to Receive Public Welfare Medal, Academy's Most Prestigious Award

Feb. 26, 2015

In recognition of his extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science, the National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2015 Public Welfare Medal to astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. Established in 1914, the medal is the Academy's most prestigious award and is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Read More

Possible Regulation of Cigarettes Not Likely to Significantly Change U.S. Illicit Tobacco Market

Feb. 19, 2015

Although there is insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about how the U.S. illicit tobacco market would respond to any new regulations that modify cigarettes -- for example, by lowering nicotine content -- limited evidence suggests that demand for illicit versions of conventional cigarettes would be modest, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.

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