Dec. 31, 2013
The Year in Review


2013 was a time of celebration for the National Academy of Sciences, which marked the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1863.  In recognition of this milestone, President Obama addressed the NAS annual meeting in April, his second speech at the Academy since he was elected.


In 2013, NAS launched the Gulf Research Program, a 30-year, $500 million initiative to study human health, environmental protection, and oil system safety in the Gulf of Mexico region and the United States' Outer Continental Shelf.  In June an advisory group was appointed to articulate the missions, goals, and objectives of the program, which was established as part of the settlements of federal criminal complaints against companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.


In July, C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr., former president of the University of Maryland, took the helm of the National Academy of Engineering.  NAE will soon celebrate an anniversary of its own -- it turns 50 during 2014. In anticipation, NAE has launched the Engineering for You (E4U) Video Contest, which will award $25,000 to the creators of a short video that best captures how engineering contributions serve human welfare and the needs of society.


The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine issued a number of reports in 2013 aimed at advising the nation on a number of science, technology, and health policy matters.  Some of those reports are highlighted below.  The NAS, NAE, IOM, and National Research Council also convened experts from multiple disciplines, and often from around the world, to discuss various challenges facing society.  Our institutions also played a significant role in various other activities, such as recognizing excellence in science, engineering, and medicine; managing external research programs; administering fellowships for early career researchers; advancing STEM education and the U.S. research enterprise; partnering with academies elsewhere in the world to inform global policymaking through evidence-based advice; and searching for new ways to better communicate science, engineering, and medicine to the public.


Energy and the Environment




Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides

An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the United States

TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines


Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels


Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward

Health and Safety




The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies

Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs

Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis

Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School

Improving Self-Escape From Underground Coal Mines

Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families

Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence

Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture

U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health

Variation in Health Care Spending: Target Decision Making, Not Geography

Education and Social Issues



Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States

Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault

Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States

Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence

Science and Technology Policy



Landsat and Beyond: Evolving a National Land Imaging Program

Emerging and Readily Available Technologies and National Security: A Framework for Addressing Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues

Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices

The Quality of Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories

Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connection and Governance Linkages