Minority Serving Colleges and Universities Could Be Greater Resource for Meeting U.S. STEM Workforce Needs

December 13, 2018

Higher education leaders, policymakers, and the private sector should take a range of actions to strengthen STEM programs and degree attainment in the nation's Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. MSIs are an underutilized resource for producing talent to fulfill the needs of the current and future U.S. STEM workforce, the report says. It identifies strategies to support the long-term success of MSI students in STEM fields. Read More

To Benefit From its Investments in Fusion Energy, U.S. Should Remain in ITER and Initiate a National Program of Burning Plasma Research and Technology

December 13, 2018

Along with participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project – a large, international burning plasma experiment – the U.S. Department of Energy should start a national program of accompanying research and technology to build a compact pilot plant that produces electricity from fusion at the lowest possible capital cost, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report provides a strategic plan to guide implementation of the main recommendations. Read More

NAKFI Publication Marks 15 Years of Igniting Innovation

December 12, 2018

Collaborations of Consequence: NAKFI’s 15 Years Igniting Innovation at the Intersections of Disciplines, a new publication from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, summarizes the results of the Futures Initiative, a program supported by a 15-year, $40 million grant the W.M. Keck Foundation to advance the future of science, engineering, and medicine through interdisciplinary research. Read More

Gulf Research Program Opens New Funding Opportunity to Advance Safety Culture in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry

December 12, 2018

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced it will award up to $10 million through a new funding opportunity to support research projects that will advance understanding and facilitate improvement of safety culture in the offshore oil and gas industry. Read More

Most Alternative Technologies to Open Burning and Open Detonation of Conventional Waste Munitions Are Mature, Says New Report

December 6, 2018

Most of the alternative technologies to open burning and open detonation (OB/OD) of conventional munitions designated for disposal are mature, including contained burn and contained detonation chambers with pollution control equipment, and many are permitted to replace OB/OD of waste munitions, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Read More 

U.S. Interstate Highways Need Overhaul

December 6, 2018

The future of the U.S. Interstate Highway System is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of structural and operational deficiencies and by various looming challenges, such as the progress of automated vehicles, developments in electric vehicles, and vulnerabilities due to climate change. Unless a commitment is made to remedy the system's deficiencies and prepare for these oncoming challenges, there is a real risk that the nation's interstates will become increasingly unreliable and congested, far more costly to maintain, less safe, incompatible with evolving technology, and vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies. The report calls for a 20-year "blueprint for action," which includes creating an Interstate Highway System Renewal and Modernization Program, increasing the federal fuel tax to help pay for it, and allowing tolls and per-mile charges on more interstate routes. Read More

Reusable Respirators Could Help Protect Health Care Personnel During Routine Work and Public Health Emergency Response, Says New Report

December 6, 2018

Half-facepiece reusable elastomeric respirators are an effective and viable option for protecting health care workers from exposure to airborne transmissible contaminants or infectious agents — for example, influenza virus — during day-to-day work or with a sudden or rapid influx of patients, such as during a public health emergency, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Implementation challenges need to be addressed, including storage, disinfection, and maintenance; training and education; user comfort and tolerability; and supply logistics and emergency stockpiling. Read More

Lauren Alexander Augustine Appointed to Lead Gulf Research Program

December 5, 2018

Lauren Alexander Augustine has been appointed executive director of the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Gulf Research Program was established in 2013 as part of the settlement of criminal charges against two companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The federal government entrusted the National Academies with $500 million to enhance human health, environmental resources, and the safety of offshore energy systems in the Gulf of Mexico region. Read More

New Cryptography Must Be Developed and Deployed Now, Even Though a Quantum Computer That Could Compromise Today's Cryptography Is Likely at Least a Decade Away, Says New Report

December 4, 2018

Given the current state of quantum computing and the significant challenges that still need to be overcome, it is highly unlikely that a quantum computer that can compromise public-key cryptography – a basis for the security of most of today's computers and networks – will be built within the next decade, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. However, because replacing an established Internet protocol generally takes over a decade, work to develop and deploy algorithms that are resilient against an attack by a quantum computer is critical now.Read More

Curbing Climate Change and Sustainably Supplying Food, Water, and Energy Among Top Challenges Environmental Engineering Can Help Address, New Report Says

December 3, 2018

Over the next several decades as the global population grows, society will be faced with pressing challenges such as providing reliable supplies of food and water, diminishing climate change and adapting to its impacts, and building healthy, resilient cities. These challenges call for new and expanded roles for environmental engineers, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. To address the challenges, the report recommends that the environmental engineering field evolve its education, research, and practice to advance practical, impactful solutions for society’s multifaceted, vexing problems. Read More

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