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News from the National Academies

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.

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