Issues in Science and Technology

A quarterly journal of the National Academy of Science focused on discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. Provides a forum researchers, government officials, business leaders, and others concerned with public policy to s

Articles from Vol. 28, No. 1, Fall

Adapting to Climate Change
Patrick Gonzalez's "Science for Natural Resource Management Under Climate Change" {Issues, Summer 2011) was a very good overview of federal natural resource management agencies' attempts to deal with the challenges of climate change to their missions...
Aiding Innovation
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernankes "Promoting Research and Development: The Governments Role" (Issues, Summer 2011) eloquently summarizes much of what is known and not known about the economics underlying the generation of R&D and the role...
Applied Research Facing Deep Cuts in FY 2012 Budget
The funding picture for most R&D agencies for the fiscal year (FY) 2012 is relatively bleak, as it is for most government functions. In actions taken thus far, basic research has generally been supported, whereas applied research programs would...
Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind
In the effort to increase the participation of women and people of color in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, a common assumption is that Asian men and women are doing fine, that they are well represented in STEM and have no...
Better Regulation for Research Universities
The core point in Smith et al.'s "Reforming Regulation of Research Universities" (Issues, Summer 2011) is on the mark: While fully recognizing the need for accountability, we need to reduce the regulatory burden on researchers and their home institutions....
Climate Adaptation Programs under Fire
Republicans in Congress, having already blocked any legislation to mitigate climate change, are now aiming at programs dealing with climate change adaptation. Several of the appropriation bills being considered in the House would bar the use of funds...
Cybersecurity in the Private Sector: The Nations Businesses Manage a Significant Share of Online Activity Related to National Security and Must Play a Larger Role in Ensuring the Overall Integrity of the System
The United States is facing major cyber attacks by criminals and agents of foreign governments, with attacks penetrating the military establishment and the private sector alike. The need to better protect military systems is well recognized. But protecting...
Developing Perennial Grains
In "Investing in Perennial Crops to Sus-tainably Feed the World" (Issues, Summer 2011), Peter C. Kahn, Thomas Molnar, Gengyun G. Zhang, and C. Reed Funk make a strong case for increased planting of perennial crops of all types in order to secure the...
Disappearing Bees
As a commercial beekeeper and bee researcher, I find a number of the claims made in "Disappearing Bees and Reluctant Regulators" {Issues, Summer 2011) to be troubling. Sainath Surya-narayanan and Daniel Lee Kleinman criticize the Environmental Protection...
Disaster Preparedness; Natural Catastrophes Are Becoming More Common and More Expensive, but Human and Financial Losses Can Be Greatly Reduced through Incentives to Purchase Insurance and Install Protective Measures
In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the economic cost and human impact from hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters worldwide. Economic losses from these catastrophic events increased from $528 billion (1981-1990)...
Expanding Certificate Programs: For Many People, Especially Working Adults and Low-Income and Minority Youth, a Certificate of Occupational Competence Can Be a Valuable and Manageable Path to Good Jobs
The United States faces a decline in the educational attainment of the labor force that threatens to reduce economic growth and limit national and personal prosperity. Reversing this decline will require a national commitment, supported by comprehensive...
House Approves Patent Reform Bill
On June 23, the House approved by a vote of 307 to 117 a patent reform bill that would give inventors a better chance of obtaining patents in a timely manner and bring the U.S. patent system into line with those of other industrialized countries. The...
Improve Chemical Exposure Standards
I certainly agree with Gwen Ottinger and Rachel Zurer ("Drowning in Data", Issues, Spring 2011) and the followup letter by Sarah A.Vogel (Issues, Summer 2011, p. 16) that it is a fundamental challenge to translate chemical concentration data into information...
In Support of Apprenticeships
In "Apprenticeships: Back to the Future {Issues, Summer 2011), Diane Auer Jones presents a thoughtful and convincing analysis of why the United States should embark on a major expansion of apprenticeships. As she ably points out, we should learn from...
Paying for Perennialism a Quest for Food and Funding: Perennial Crops Hold Great Potential for Long-Term Agricultural Sustainability, Hut Researchers Are Walking Away from Work on Perennials Because Federal Funding Is Too Focused on Short-Term Improvements and Increases in Yield
When Wes Jackson looks out across the wild prairie of Kansas, he sees far beyond the limits of his vision. "I'm surrounded by prairie here," he tells us, and the fields of waving grasses and deep roots have shaped how he thinks--about farming, about...
Role of Government in Social Science Research Funding Questioned
On June 2, the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing to explore the government's role in funding social, behavioral, and economic (SBE) science research. Chairman Mo Brooks (R-AL) said the...
Science and Technology Policy in Brief
* On July 27, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in favor of the Obama administration policy allowing the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on human embryonic stem cells. He dismissed a suit in which plaintiffs claimed that federal...
Shih Chieh Huang
Shih Chieh Huang's work explores the unusual evolutionary adaptations undertaken by creatures that live in inhospitable conditions. He creates analogous ecosystems in his installations and populates them with organic living things made from everyday...
Small Modular Reactors
As a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) commissioner (and former nuclear attack submarine skipper), I enjoyed reading Ross Carper's and Sonja Schmid s eloquent description of current small modular reactor (SMR) activities in "The Little Reactor That...
Smarter Defense Spending
Jacques S. Gansler's excellent article about the future of defense spending ("Solving the Nation's Security Afford-ability Problem," Issues, Summer 2011) includes two related notions that need a bit of further commentary. The first, implicit in...
The Shifting Landscape of Science: The Days of Overwhelming U.S. Science Dominance Are over, but the Country Can Actually Benefit by Learning to Tap and Build on the Expanding Wellspring of Knowledge Being Generated in Many Countries
Citations to U.S. science, in the aggregate, have been flat over the past 30 years, whereas citations of research papers from the rest of the world have been rising steadily. Although the relative decline in U.S. scientific prowess is perceived by...
Time for an Update: The Fundamental Framework for Managing Science and Technology, Which Has Changed Little since the 1940s, Needs to Adapt to What Has Become a Very Different World
A11 of us involved in science and technology (S&T) policy are fond of commenting on the increasing pace of change, the upheavals caused by novel technologies and expanded scientific understanding, and the unprecedented challenges to Earth's resources...