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National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education


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Statement of Task


BECS is responsible for NRC programs that

  • Build understanding of human interactions with the biophysical environment;
  • Contribute to the development of a coherent field of scientific endeavor in this area;
  • Integrate social and behavioral science research into environmental science and policy;
  • Advance the behavioral, social, and decision sciences; and
  • Benefit society through the application of these sciences to human-environment interactions.

In promoting the integration of the contributions of the social sciences with those of other sciences and technologies, BECS is proactive in seeking collaboration with Boards and Committees throughout the NRC that have technical expertise in areas that intersect with the interests of BECS.


BECS advises the nation about the causes and consequences of environmental change and informs environmental decisions. In this context, the role of BECS will encompass strategic planning, program development, and oversight of NRC studies and other activities initiated under the auspices of the board. In executing its charge, BECS will

  • Provide a venue for contact and communication among basic and applied researchers in the United States and abroad;
  • Interest scientists outside the field of human-environmental sciences in conducting basic research relevant to major theoretical and methodological issues;
  • Respond to requests from sponsors for guidance and advice from the NRC on specific problems or issues relating to their programs; and
  • Serve as the U.S. National Committee for the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change.

BECS continues the work of the Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change (CHDGC), which was a standing committee established in 1989 to help guide research in the United States on the interactions between human activity and global environmental change. BECS will continue to serve in this way, but the breadth of the issues that it will address may expand to address emerging scientific and governmental concerns.



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