National Academy of science

Washington, DC, United States

National Academy of science

Washington, DC, United States
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Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: XC-Crosscutting Activities Pro | Award Amount: 457.62K | Year: 2016

Non Technical Abstract

This project is a broad survey of materials research (MR) conducted by the National Academies to identify key strategic materials research areas important to the United States. MR seeks to understand how the elements of ordinary materials combine in large numbers to form our everyday objects. The breadth of such research is enormous, encompassing metals, glasses, crystals, wood, and plastics, as well as new nanomaterials. Progress requires the interplay of many components of todays research community - advances in fundamental theory, the continued development of new research tools, computational capabilities and both large and small facilities. The results of that progress have been impressive - most technological advances that characterize modern society have been highly dependent upon advances in materials capabilities. The United States is now just one of many leaders on the international scene in this field, as many countries have begun investing significantly in this area with the expectation that such efforts will help fuel their national economic development. This study assesses the progress in MR over the past decade and identifies promising new directions in MR for the period 2020-2030. The study also discusses the impacts that MR has had and is expected to have on emerging technologies, national needs, and science, broadly. Finally, the study uses case studies of selected fields that have had or are anticipated to have near-term growth, to evaluate recent investment trends in MR in the United States relative to similar research taking place abroad and recommends steps for helping to secure U.S. leadership and for enhancing international collaboration or coordination in appropriate subfields of MR. There are also committee members who work in closely related fields or in fields

Technical Abstract

This project is a 24-month study by the National Academies on the current status and future directions of materials research (MR) in the United States. The study is supported by experienced members of the National Academies professional staff and conducted by an ad-hoc committee of approximately 20-23 members, most of whom have expertise in the fields that broadly make up MR. There are also committee members who work in closely related fields or in fields that rely upon MR, members from industries that rely upon advances in MR, as well as members from international communities that engage in similar research. In conducting the study, the committee will hold five full committee meetings with invited presentations from the MR community, and will engage in extensive community interaction and data gathering, including pursuing feedback from across the country through efforts such as town halls. After first assessing the progress and achievements in MR over the past decade, the report will identify the principal changes in the research and development landscape for MR over the past decade, both in the United States and internationally, and how those changes have impacted the MR community. It will then identify areas that offer promising investment opportunities and new directions for the period 2020-2030. The report will also use a limited number of case studies to evaluate recent trends in investments in materials research in the United States relative to similar research that is taking place internationally. Based on those trends, the report will recommend steps the United States might take to either secure leadership or to enhance collaboration and coordination of such research support for identified subfields of materials research. The conclusions and recommendations of the report will be disseminated to sponsoring agencies, the public, the research and technical communities that conduct MR, and state and local governments, as appropriate. Free electronic versions of the report will be available via the National Academies Press website.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PROGRAM EVALUATION | Award Amount: 1.41M | Year: 2015

The Board on Science Education at the National Research Council, in collaboration with the Board on Testing and Assessment and the Board on Higher Education and the Workforce, is convening a 12 member expert committee to develop a framework and set of indicators that can document the status and quality of undergraduate STEM education at both community colleges and 4-year institutions and be used to track improvements at the national level over multiple years. At present there is no comprehensive, national system for documenting important aspects of undergraduate STEM education nor is there an analytic framework for thinking about what indicators are needed to adequately document progress toward improvement. The committee will meet 6 times to gather information, deliberate on the evidence, and prepare a report. After the third meeting, an interim report will be made available for public comment. The final report will undergo rigorous peer review and be available in free PDF format. By identifying needed research and data sources, the study will enhance the information that is available to educators, researchers, and policy makers, thereby laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the practices and conditions that contribute to successful postsecondary STEM education. The project will provide NSF, other federal agencies, private foundations and professional organizations with guidance on important indicators to track in gauging the status and quality of postsecondary STEM education.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: OCE SPECIAL PROGRAMS | Award Amount: 250.25K | Year: 2016

The requested funding will be used to continue providing guidance on major ocean-related science, engineering, and policy issues to the federal ocean agencies, including the National Science Foundation. The Ocean Studies Board (OSB) is the focal point within the NRC for ocean-related science, engineering, and policy issues. The board explores the science, policies, and infrastructure needed to understand, manage, protect, and restore coastal and marine environments and resources. The board exercises leadership within the ocean community by helping identify and communicate the needs of the field, responds to specific requests from government agencies and Congress, and oversees a variety a study projects related to ocean science and engineering and their impacts on policy. The operations of OSB are funded by a number of federal agencies, including the ONR, NOAA, USGS, and NASA.

Broader Impacts

The OSB strives to increase public awareness of ocean issues, to support ocean science education, and to enhance the dissemination and impact of OSB reports. The OSB also supports the recruitment of minorities into the earth sciences through participation in mentoring and fellowship programs. To further outreach and dissemination, The OSB provides report-in-briefs, a short summary (4-6 pages) of the key issues in reports; booklets on ocean themes (Ocean Science Series; Ocean Acidification, Scientific Ocean Drilling); and brief overviews of new reports and ongoing activities through the production of a biennial report.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 1.01M | Year: 2016

The expectation that all students, including English language learners (ELLs), achieve high academic standards has become even more evident and complex to date as a result of several key factors. First, as the school-aged population continues to grow more racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse, ELLs can now be found in virtually every school in the nation. Second, the science and mathematics education landscape has changed significantly resulting from the new visions in these fields, and the challenges posed by the new academic standards for all students. Third, the need to integrate new knowledge and perspectives from the language arts with knowledge from science and mathematics learning, instruction, and assessment has surfaced as a critical component of the potential strategies to be employed in addressing ELLs current science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education situation from pre-K-12 grades. The key challenges today include both enabling educators to better support this student subpopulation, as well as increasing the number and quality of research activities focused on how best to support ELLs success in these subjects. In response to this challenge, the Board on Science Education (BOSE) of the National Academies of Sciences will conduct a consensus study focused on identifying instructional practices and professional development approaches for teachers, as well as the policies that are needed to support ELLs accomplishments in science and mathematics education. The study will synthesize a wide range of research literatures relevant to improving ELLs STEM learning, and provide a comprehensive understanding of how best to simultaneously support English language development and deep learning in the context of new and more challenging standards in science and mathematics. The study will also provide a framework for future research that can help to identify the most relevant and pressing questions for the field, as well as increase the number and quality of proposed research activities focused on ELLs in STEM.

To conduct the consensus study, BOSE will convene a multidisciplinary committee of experts who will synthesize the most relevant research on related subjects. The committee will include professionals in the fields of science and mathematics education, curriculum development, learning and instruction, linguistics, and assessment to address key sets of research questions: (1) Based on research-informed and field-tested models, strategies, and approaches, what are promising approaches to support ELLs (including ELLs with disabilities) in learning STEM? Given the diversity within the ELLs population, what has worked, for whom, and under what conditions? What can be learned from these models and what additional research is needed to understand what makes them effective? What commonly used approaches may be less effective?; (2) What is the role of teachers in supporting the success of ELLs in STEM? What is known about the biases teachers may bring to their classrooms with ELLs and how these can be effectively addressed? What kinds of curriculum, professional development experiences, and assessment are needed in order for STEM teachers to improve their support for ELLs in STEM?; (3) How can assessments in STEM (both formative and summative) be designed to reflect the new content standards and to be appropriate for ELLs? What assessment accommodations might need to be considered?; (4) How do policies and practices at the national, state, and local level constrain or facilitate efforts to better support ELLs in STEM (including policies related to identification of students)? What kinds of changes in policy and practice are needed?; and (5) What are the gaps in the current research base and what are the key directions for research, both short-term and long-term? The committee will work over a 30-month period to synthesize relevant research literature and prepare a final consensus report, including results, conclusions, and recommendations. The study will address an issue of national importance and will inform future research on challenges directly related to ELLs, diversity, and equity in STEM education. This issue is particularly relevant to programs such as Discovery Research K-12 that supports efforts that reflect the needs of the increasingly diverse population, and Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, which supports strategies for recruiting and selecting participants from identified groups currently underrepresented in STEM professions, careers, and education pathways. The report will target a broad audience of stakeholders, including teachers, school district administrators, researchers, congressional staff, and federal agencies that fund educational research and set policies related to ELLs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PROGRAM EVALUATION | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2016

The National Academies will conduct a consensus study of the current state and effectiveness of graduate education in the United States. The project will be led by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) in collaboration with the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP). The study will produce the first major comprehensive policy report focused on graduate education since the seminal 1995 COSEPUP report Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. The study will provide policy and programmatic recommendations for strengthening the quality of graduate education to align it more closely with the nation?s current and future economic, educational, and cultural needs and to ensure that graduate education can adapt to the domestic and global challenges over the next decades.

The proposed study will build on and extend the earlier study by examining changes in graduate education, the STEM workforce, and skills needed for today?s global economy. A committee of experts will be selected to review the relevant data, analyze the graduate education landscape, convene informational meetings and multi-stakeholder focus groups, develop findings and recommendations, and participate in strategic conversations with stakeholders about the report?s findings, recommendations, and implications. In addition to investigating the impact of the 1995 COSEPUP study, the committee will consider the following questions: (1) What kind of academic/lab/internship experiences are necessary to help graduate students appreciate the range of careers available and to help them evaluate their fit with careers of interest? (2) If science and engineering are increasingly interdisciplinary and influenced by the convergence of fields such as engineering, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, should graduate education be restructured to reflect this trend? (3) Can structural changes to graduate education better prepare students for careers without requiring one or more postdoctoral experiences? (4) What are some of the most important and relevant experiments and innovations in graduate education currently underway? How successful have they been, and to what extent can they serve as models to be adapted for broader use in other institutions? (5) What are the opportunities and barriers to implementing recommendations from the President?s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that all graduate students be given opportunities to develop pedagogical skills?

Specific study activities will include (1) conducting an overall systems analysis of graduate education in the natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences to identify policies, practices, and programs that can better meet the changing education and career needs of an increasingly diverse population; (2) identifying core principles and strategies to improve the alignment of graduate education curricula, internships, and fellowship experiences for students who are likely to pursue non-academic as well as academic careers; (3) understanding whether and how graduate education is meeting the needs of increased numbers of U.S.-born underrepresented students as well as foreign students in U.S. institutions, and how their changing needs might be accommodated more effectively; and (4) proposing a clear set of national goals for graduate education in S&E that can be used by stakeholders to guide future directions for graduate education. The voices of employers (industry, academia, government and nonprofits) as well as graduate students themselves will be prominent in all elements of the study. The results of the proposed study will inform the higher education community, policy makers, and funders about evidence-based strategies that produce outcomes needed to ensure the future of the STEM enterprise and the nation?s global competitiveness.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Catalyzing New Intl Collab | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2016

This project will provide support the fourth conference of the Arab-American Frontiers program series which will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE from November 5-7, 2016 and is co-organized by local partners the Masdar Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi, Khalifa University and the Petroleum Institute of Abu Dhabi. The project will provide an opportunity for approximately 35 early-career US scientists to attend the three day conference of approximately 100 total attendees. Participants are selected through a competitive application process, ensuring a meeting of research-active scientists and engineers who are ready to capitalize on the ideas and relationships developed at the conference.

The goals of the workshop are to:
1) Enhance scientific dialogue and exchange among young researchers in Arab countries and the United States;
2) Encourage and strengthen scientific collaboration and the transfer of techniques and approaches across disciplines within and beyond the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region and the United States;
3) Empower young scientists, engineers, and medical professionals to assume leadership roles in their fields and beyond.

Given the limited opportunities for US scientists to interact with colleagues from the Middle East and North Africa, this meeting will provide an unparalleled opportunity for research-active, exceptionally promising young scientists and engineers to share their work and develop new ideas and opportunities for collaboration.

The conference purposely focuses on several topics that are not directly related to encourage the participants to make connections beyond their field of study and to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue that may offer new, unexpected insights. Participants at previous workshops have highlighted this broad interdisciplinarity as an intellectual highlight of the meeting. The focus areas for this meeting were developed by the volunteer organizing committee and represent globally important topics in which the Middle East has valuable expertise and is investing important resources. All five cutting-edge topics are multi-disciplinary areas that will benefit from greater interdisciplinary dialogue.
? Solar Energy and Water for Sustainable Living
? Nanotechnology for Next Generation Electronics and Photonics
? Exploring the Brain
? Advances in Petroleum Geosciences, Oil and Gas Exploration
? New Spacecraft Technologies for Earth and Space Exploration

Further development of ideas for cooperative work that develop at the conference will be facilitated by small collaboration grants for which participants may apply after the meeting. The previous three meetings have now been followed by 25 collaboration grants. Noteworthy bilateral and trilateral collaborations are underway, including work in groundwater quality assessment and purification, epigenetic cancer research, climate change impacts on plant physiology, and nanomaterials.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING | Award Amount: 450.00K | Year: 2016


The Water Science and Technology Board of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is undertaking a study to identify high priority challenges for the broad fields of environmental engineering and science. The committee will identify grand challenges for environmental engineering and science for the next several decades. These should be significant societal challenges that will require the expertise of environmental engineering and science to resolve or manage. The report will shape the growth of university departments, inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists to address the most pressing global environmental challenges, and improve the training of environmental engineers and scientists to better meet these challenges.

The committee will hold a minimum of three meetings to receive briefings, gather information, deliberate critical issues, and write its report. The study should produce a visionary document and result in a subsequent 18-month intensive dissemination/outreach effort of value to environmental engineering and science programs throughout the United States and worldwide. Events like droughts, oil spills, and increasing food prices, illustrative of the food-energy-water nexus, make it clear that the United States can no longer view environmental systems in isolation. Integrative solutions to these pressing challenges necessitate new educational approaches and research strategies for environmental engineering and sciences and partnerships with a wide array of engineers, scientists, and social scientists. A 2014 NRC report, Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond, illustrates how these new problems require new thought modalities and approaches. Thus, this study will also examine ways to integrate interdisciplinary and systems approaches into environmental engineering and sciences. These are essential steps to facilitate innovative solutions to these global grand challenges for environmental engineering.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: OTHER GLOBAL LEARNING & TRNING | Award Amount: 523.41K | Year: 2016

This award supports the Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO) of the National Academies of Science (NAS), which functions as the U.S. National Committee to the International Council for Science (ICSU) and serves as the focal point for ICSU-related activities in the United States. It manages U.S. membership in ICSU and has oversight of many of the national committees that serve as liaisons to unions, committees and programs federated under the ICSU umbrella. BISOs primary goal is to support effective U.S. participation and strong leadership in the ICSU network in response to growing needs in international science and technology.

ICSU, a non-governmental organization with a global membership of national scientific bodies (122 Members, representing 142 countries) and International Scientific Unions (31 Members). ICSU?s mission is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. To do this, ICSU mobilizes the knowledge and resources of the international science community to 1) identify and address major issues of importance to science and society; 2) facilitate interaction among scientists across all disciplines and from all countries; 3) promote the participation of all scientists in the international scientific endeavor; and 4) provide independent, authoritative advice to stimulate constructive dialogue between the scientific community and governments, civil society, and the private sector.

This award also provides dues payment to the Pacific Science Association (PSA). PSA is an interdisciplinary regional organization within ICSU whose goal is to advance science and technology in support of sustainable development in the Pacific region. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, PSA has a long history of linking scientists in the U.S. with their counterparts on the Pacifics rim and islands.

This three-year award will enable BISO to continue to manage U.S. participation in ICSU. The award provides costs associated with the support and management of the U.S. National Committees to ICSU and organizational activities of adhering U.S. committees representing the diverse disciplines that participate in ICSU activities.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: OFFICE OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY AC | Award Amount: 403.78K | Year: 2016

An Academies study will set forth a vision for the emerging discipline of data science at the undergraduate level. It will emphasize core, underlying principles, intellectual content, and pedagogical issues specific to data science, including core concepts that distinguish it from neighboring disciplines. It will not consider the practicalities of creating materials, courses, or programs.

The study will develop this vision considering applications of, and careers in, data science. The focus will be at the undergraduate level, while addressing related issues at the middle school, high school and community college levels, as appropriate, and drawing upon experiences in creating Masters-level programs. It will consider opportunities created by the emergence of this new STEM field to engage underrepresented student populations and consider ways to reduce the leakage seen in existing STEM pathways.

Information gathering will center around two workshops, the first likely focused on principles and intellectual content, and the second likely focused on pedagogy and implications for middle and high schools and community colleges. To get material on the record quickly and spark community feedback, a rapporteur-authored workshop summary report will be issued following deliberations setting forth a vision for undergraduate education in data science.

The intellectual merit of this study is that it will articulate a vision for data science at the undergraduate level by exploring the needs in this area across multiple sectors, and drawing upon experiences to date on fashioning undergraduate programs. The study will draw on the expertise and experience of the study committee, briefings and discussion at workshops convened by the committee, and input received from the relevant communities in response to the studys interim report. The study process is expected to yield a consensus view of intellectual content and pedagogical approaches.

This project and its reports will have broader impact by providing and sharing valuable information for those designing and implementing undergraduate data science programs at colleges and universities, and by fostering the development of such programs and building data science expertise in the workforce.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INSPIRE | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2016

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will conduct a study on the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in science, engineering and medical departments and programs. Recent media coverage of cases involving prominent scientists and institutions has highlighted the fact that the processes in place to address sexual harassment in academic settings often do not function effectively, resulting in a negative impact on faculty, students, and staff. Nevertheless, no comprehensive study has yet examined sexual harassment in the science, engineering, and medical programs on college and university campuses or the efficacy of institutional responses to these discriminatory behaviors. By conducting this research, the Academies Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine will facilitate efforts to end sexual harassment in science, engineering, and medicine and reduce the negative impacts these behaviors may have on the attrition from, and underrepresentation of, women in these fields.

As an organization independent of the government, the National Academies will carry out the study with objectivity and balance. The study will involve an intensive effort to collect evidence regarding the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment in academic science, engineering, and medicine and consider the impact of sexual harassment on the career choices of women, and other underrepresented groups affected by sexual harassment. The study will be conducted by a committee of expert stakeholders who will review current institutional procedures for preventing sexual harassment, consider data on the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in science, engineering, and medicine, and develop evidence-based strategies and policies aimed at preventing or addressing sexual harassment on campuses. The Academies will widely disseminating the findings and recommendations of this study. The target audience for this study includes colleges and universities; Congress and the Administration; federal research agencies; science, engineering, and business and industry executives; professional STEM societies and associations; medical professionals, and student associations.

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