Educational attainment—the number of years a person spends in school—strongly predicts adult earnings, as well as health and civic engagement. In order to pursue a successful career in fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine (STEMM), college-ready students need foundational knowledge, opportunities to pursue more advanced material, and support as they develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills that will help them overcome challenges. Our publications provide guidance to develop and support the next generation of students.
How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures
There are many reasons to be curious about the way people learn, and the past several decades have seen an explosion of research that has important implications for individual learning, schooling, workforce training, and policy.
In 2000, …
Cigarette smoking causes 440,000 deaths annually and results in $193 billion in health-related economic losses each year. There is overwhelming and conclusive biologic, epidemiologic, behavioral, and pharmacologic evidence that demonstrates the deadly health effects of tobacco use. Millions of Americans who smoke have resorted to e-cigarettes to avoid these health concerns. Individuals who have never used tobacco, such as youth and young adults, have also embraced this new product. In light of the recent national outbreak of smoking-related lung injury, many are concerned that e-cigarettes contain possibly toxic substances.
Our publications synthesize and discuss the most current evidence and information on traditional tobacco use and e-cigarettes. These reports critically assess the state of the emerging evidence, highlight opportunities for further health-related research, and inform decision making.
Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes
Millions of Americans use e-cigarettes. Despite their popularity, little is known about their health effects. Some suggest that e-cigarettes likely confer lower risk compared to combustible tobacco cigarettes, because they do not expose users to …
Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation
The nation has made tremendous progress in reducing tobacco use during the past 40 years. Despite extensive knowledge about successful interventions, however, approximately one-quarter of American adults still smoke. Tobacco-related illnesses and …
Bridges are critical to the nation’s transportation system and economy. With an average age of 43 years, existing U.S. bridges are subject to aging, deterioration, corrosion, cracking, delamination, material fatigue, and chemical degradation. These problems may occur naturally over time or as a result of conditions such as traffic and weather events. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, approximately 178 million vehicles cross over 47,000 structurally deficient U.S. bridges every day.
Our titles discuss issues of the design, maintenance, and inspection of bridges, and offer guidance to transportation agencies, builders, and federal, state, and local planners. All are free to download.
Bridge System Safety and Redundancy
TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 776: Bridge System Safety and Redundancy provides proposed revisions to the design philosophy section of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials …
State Bridge Load Posting Processes and Practices
TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 453: State Bridge Load Posting Processes and Practices is a synthesis of the practices of U.S. state governments in restricting weights of vehicles that can cross highway …
Clinical trials generate vast amounts of data, yet a large portion of this information is never published or made available to other researchers. Data sharing could advance scientific discovery and improve clinical care, but it involves potential risks and costs for key stakeholders, including clinical trialists, sponsors, researchers, and patients. Our publications discuss the challenges and opportunities for stakeholders to better harmonize incentives, policy, data standards, and governance to encourage the sharing and reuse of clinical trial data sharing.
Sharing Clinical Research Data: Workshop Summary
Pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, and government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health all possess large quantities of clinical research data. If these data were shared more widely …
Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care
In an era of promising advances in cancer research, there are considerable and even alarming gaps in the fundamental knowledge and understanding of ovarian cancer. Researchers now know that ovarian cancer is not a single disease–several distinct …
The electric power and distribution system in the United States is a critical component of our infrastructure that people rely on every day. It is a complex network of wires, transformers, and associated equipment and control software designed to transmit electricity from where it is generated, usually in centralized power plants, to commercial, residential, and industrial users. As the U.S. infrastructure has become increasingly dependent on electricity, vulnerabilities in the grid have the potential to cascade well beyond whether the lights turn on, impacting basic services such as the fueling infrastructure, the economic system, and emergency services. Our publications explore how to create an electric power grid for the future – one that optimizes operational efficiency and is resilient against attacks and disasters.
Analytic Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid
Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society, and for the vast majority of people that electricity is obtained from large, interconnected power grids. However, the grid that was developed in the 20th century, and the incremental improvements made since then, including its underlying analytic …
Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System
Americans’ safety, productivity, comfort, and convenience depend on the reliable supply of electric power. The electric power system is a complex “cyber-physical” system composed of a network of millions of components spread out across the continent. These components are owned, operated, …
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System
The electric power delivery system that carries electricity from large central generators to customers could be severely damaged by a small number of well-informed attackers. The system is inherently vulnerable because transmission lines may span hundreds of miles, and many key facilities are …
Domestic violence has numerous mental, neurocognitive, and psychosocial impacts across the lifespan, affecting the health and opportunities of many individuals. The National Academies’ Forum on Global Violence Prevention works to reduce violence worldwide by promoting research on both protective and risk factors and encouraging evidence-based prevention efforts. The Forum aims to facilitate dialogue and exchange by bringing together experts from all areas of violence prevention, including behavioral scientists, policy makers, criminal justice professionals, social service providers, economists, legal experts, journalists, philanthropists, faith-based organizations, corporate social responsibility officers, among others. These publications assess the impact of violence across the lifespan in order to improve the welfare of individuals and society.
Means of Violence: Workshop in Brief
In an average day, there are approximately 4,000 violent deaths across the globe. In 1 week, there are 26,000 and in 1 month, 120,000. Workshop speaker James Mercy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted that these figures …
Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary
Elder Abuse and Its Prevention is the summary of a workshop convened in April 2013 by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention. Using an ecological framework, this workshop explored the burden of elder abuse around …
Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary
The past 25 years have seen a major paradigm shift in the field of violence prevention, from the assumption that violence is inevitable to the recognition that violence is preventable. Part of this shift has occurred in thinking about why …
Social and Economic Costs of Violence: Workshop Summary
Measuring the social and economic costs of violence can be difficult, and most estimates only consider direct economic effects, such as productivity loss or the use of health care services. Communities and societies feel the effects of violence …
Forests cover nearly one-third of the United States, accounting for more than 1 million square miles. Because of their vital role in carbon storage, nutrient cycling, and air and water purification, as well as in supplying habitat for wildlife, maintaining forest health is essential.
Today, nonnative invasive tree pests, more virulent native pests, increases in size and frequency of wildfires, and climate changes all threaten the health of our forests. The loss of a tree species can have cascading adverse effects on ecosystems, both on the range of services it provides and the values it represents to human populations. Our publications explore challenges and opportunities to reduce the impacts of our changing world on forest health. All are free to download.
The global ocean covers about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and acts as its primary reservoir of heat and carbon, absorbing over 90 percent of the surplus heat and about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with human activities, and receiving close to 100 percent of fresh water lost from land ice.
With the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, notably CO2 from fossil fuel combustion, the Earth’s climate and its oceans are now changing more rapidly than at any time since the advent of human societies. Society will increasingly face complex decisions about how to mitigate adverse impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and species loss. Our publications explore the science, policies, and infrastructure needed to understand, manage, and conserve coastal and marine environments and resources.
Marine Protected Areas: Tools for Sustaining Ocean Ecosystems
Although the ocean-and the resources within-seem limitless, there is clear evidence that human impacts such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution disrupt marine ecosystems and threaten the long-term productivity of the seas. Declining yields in many fisheries and decay of treasured …
Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment
U.S. Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait and west of the Canadian border encompass a vast area that is usually ice covered for much of the year, but is increasingly experiencing longer periods and larger areas of open water due to climate change. Sparsely inhabited with a wide variety of …
The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response
Whether the result of an oil well blowout, vessel collision or grounding, leaking pipeline, or other incident at sea, each marine oil spill will present unique circumstances and challenges. The oil type and properties, location, time of year, duration of spill, water depth, environmental …
Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean remains one of the world’s last frontiers. Covering nearly 14 million km² (an area approximately 1.4 times the size of the United States), Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. While it is challenging to …
Scientific research informs decisions that address many pressing issues, but what happens when results from one lab or study cannot be confirmed in another? Inconsistent results undermine the validity of scientific findings and contribute to the growing concern about replicability and reproducibility in science. A widespread strategy involving a variety of stakeholders is essential in order to promote openness and transparency in the research enterprise.
Three recent reports from the National Academies identify opportunities for meaningful improvement in research practices and offer guidance toward open, consistent, and objective science. Most recently, our 2019 report, Reproducibility and Replicability in Science, defines the terms “reproducibility” and “replicability” as distinct concepts that are each critical in achieving this goal. While many use these terms interchangeably, this differentiation is a critical step towards stronger scientific research practices and more reliable science. To learn more about open science, read or download our reports for free.
Reproducibility and Replicability in Science
One of the pathways by which the scientific community confirms the validity of a new scientific discovery is by repeating the research that produced it. When a scientific effort fails to independently confirm the computations or results of a previous study, some fear that it may be a symptom of a lack of rigor in science, while others argue …
Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research
Openness and sharing of information are fundamental to the progress of science and to the effective functioning of the research enterprise. The advent of scientific journals in the 17th century helped power the Scientific Revolution by allowing researchers to communicate across time and space, using the technologies of that era to generate …
Fostering Integrity in Research
The integrity of knowledge that emerges from research is based on individual and collective adherence to core values of objectivity, honesty, openness, fairness, accountability, and stewardship. Integrity in science means that the organizations in which research is conducted encourage those involved to exemplify these values in every step of …
The prosperity of the United States relies on families that support one another throughout all stages of life. However, systematic issues and complex interpersonal relationships hinder many families’ ability to thrive. While scientific evidence demonstrates the importance of a supportive family environment on individual health outcomes and well-being, this knowledge is often not appropriately applied to policy or practice.
Building supportive families begins with eliminating systematic inequities in adolescence and promoting positive childhood experiences and relationships. Children are highly sensitive to their surroundings and interactions, and their healthy development relies on open communication and stability at home. Working adults also rely on their families to support them as they fulfill their responsibilities and navigate obstacles both inside and outside of the home. This is especially apparent in military families, who face additional complex challenges due to military life. However, the current system for fostering positive family relationships in difficult situations is limited and fails to provide all families with adequate support and tools for success.
As we age, family support becomes even more critical. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the value of family caregiver services to older adults was $234 billion, and that number is increasing as more adults reach older ages. As the role of family caregivers grows increasingly complex and demanding, it is imperative that caregivers receive the support they need to manage the needs of their aging family members. The United States health care system must advance from person-centered care to person and family-centered care in order to provide comprehensive support.
The United States government has a responsibility to ensure that its family programs reach those who need it the most. The education, health care, child welfare, and justice systems, and systems within the Department of Defense, must recognize the growing diversity of families and create adaptable programs that are equipped to support all families in need. Furthermore, these systems must leverage scientific evidence that reveals the multitude of factors that influence outcomes throughout all stages of life and apply that knowledge to programs and policy.
Families Caring for an Aging America
Family caregiving affects millions of Americans every day, in all walks of life. At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are caregivers of an older adult with a health or functional limitation. The nation’s family caregivers …