Tag Archives: science and public policy

When Science Meets the Public, Communication Matters


As we turn to science for answers and explanations to understand and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very clear that a number of influences—psychological, economic, political, social, cultural, and media-related— determine how contentious issues in science are understood and perceived. Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions and in political and social settings. Our publications synthesize research on communication and provide guidance to improve public engagement with science. As always, all are free to download.

Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda

Science and technology are embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life. As a result, people face an increasing need to integrate information from science with their personal values and other considerations as they make important life decisions about medical care, the safety of foods, what …

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The Science of Science Communication III: Inspiring Novel Collaborations and Building Capacity: Proceedings of a Colloquium

Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions. Without those skills, they could not write papers and funding proposals, give talks and field questions, or teach classes and mentor students. However, communicating with audiences outside their profession – people …

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The Science of Science Communication II: Summary of a Colloquium

Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions. Without those skills, they could not write papers and funding proposals, give talks and field questions, or teach classes and mentor students. However, communicating with audiences outside their profession – people …

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Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences

Science is a way of knowing about the world. At once a process, a product, and an institution, science enables people to both engage in the construction of new knowledge as well as use information to achieve desired ends. Access to science—whether using knowledge or creating it—necessitates …

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Trust and Confidence at the Interfaces of the Life Sciences and Society: Does the Public Trust Science? A Workshop Summary

Does the public trust science? Scientists? Scientific organizations? What roles do trust and the lack of trust play in public debates about how science can be used to address such societal concerns as childhood vaccination, cancer screening, and a warming planet? What could happen if social …

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Science for Fighting a Pandemic: Coronavirus Resources

As the United States and other countries respond to the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the COVID-19 infectious disease, it is critical that science-based information guide public health strategies. Our publications provide guidance for federal, state, and local public health officials, transportation officials, and policy makers as they grapple with this crisis. As always, all are free to read online or download. For additional publications, please visit our Coronavirus Resources Collection.

Exploring Lessons Learned from a Century of Outbreaks: Readiness for 2030: Proceedings of a Workshop

In November 2018, an ad hoc planning committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine planned two sister workshops held in Washington, DC, to examine the lessons from influenza pandemics and other major outbreaks, understand the extent to which the lessons have been …

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Stronger Food and Drug Regulatory Systems Abroad

Ensuring the safety of food and the quality and safety of medicines in a country is an important role of government, made more complicated by global manufacturing and international trade. By recent estimates, unsafe food kills over 400,000 people a year, a third of them children under 5, mostly …

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Reusable Elastomeric Respirators in Health Care: Considerations for Routine and Surge Use

Protecting the health and safety of health care workers is vital to the health of each of us. Preparing for and responding to a future influenza pandemic or to a sustained outbreak of an airborne transmissible disease requires a high-level commitment to respiratory protection for health care …

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Emergency Working Groups at Airports

Airports—especially in the past two decades—have generally sought to promote and increase collaboration among the members of the airport community, particularly between an airport and its airlines. One metric of this trend has been the increase in the number of U.S. airports with full-time …

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Airport Roles in Reducing Transmission of Communicable Diseases

TRB’s Conference Proceedings 55: Airport Roles in Reducing Transmission of Communicable Diseases summarizes a 2-day Insight Event convened by the Airport Cooperative Research Program and its Insight contractor, Eastern Research Group, Inc., March 6 and 7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The event …

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Building Communication Capacity to Counter Infectious Disease Threats: Proceedings of a Workshop

Building communication capacity is a critical piece of preparing for, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. The International Health Regulations (IHR) establish risk communication—the real-time exchange of information, advice, and opinions between experts or officials and …

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Engaging the Private-Sector Health Care System in Building Capacity to Respond to Threats to the Public’s Health and National Security: Proceedings of a Workshop

Disasters tend to cross political, jurisdictional, functional, and geographic boundaries. As a result, disasters often require responses from multiple levels of government and multiple organizations in the public and private sectors. This means that public and private organizations that normally …

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Preparing Airports for Communicable Diseases on Arriving Flights

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 83: Preparing Airports for Communicable Diseases on Arriving Flights examines current disease preparedness and response practices at U.S. and Canadian airports in coordination with public health officers and partners. While larger …

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The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the health sector. Education, child protection, …

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Emerging Viral Diseases: The One Health Connection: Workshop Summary

In the past half century, deadly disease outbreaks caused by novel viruses of animal origin – Nipah virus in Malaysia, Hendra virus in Australia, Hantavirus in the United States, Ebola virus in Africa, along with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), several influenza subtypes, and the SARS …

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Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response: Volume 1: Introduction and CSC Framework

Catastrophic disasters occurring in 2011 in the United States and worldwide–from the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in New Zealand–have demonstrated that even prepared communities can be overwhelmed. In 2009, at the height of the …

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Science Debate 2012: Science in Public Policy

The leading U.S. science and engineering organizations developed a list of 14 science policy questions facing the U.S. in 2012. You can read these questions–and the Presidential candidates’ answers–at ScienceDebate.org.

For each of the Science Debate 2012 questions, we’re going to provide you a selection of the authoritative and unbiased resources of the National Academies to help inform your response to the candidates’ answers. Today, we’re looking at the ScienceDebate question on Science and Public Policy: Continue reading