Monday, October 20, 2014
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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What do all these acronyms (NRC, NAS, NAE, IOM) mean?

What are the relationships between the Board and the NRC/IOM, and between all of these and the National Academy of Sciences?

What is the relationship between the National Materials and Manufacturing Board and DEPS?

Are your meetings open to the public?

How can I learn about meetings before they take place instead of after they have taken place?

Who sits on your committees?

Are you a government agency?

Are you related to the NSF or NIH?

Do you award grants?

Where does the Board get funding?

How are your reports reviewed and produced?

Are your reports free or for sale? And are they all on the Internet?


What do all these acronyms mean?

The National Academies are comprised of four distinguished organizations - the National Research Council (NRC), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). These non-profit organizations provide a public service by working outside the framework of government to ensure independent advice on matters of science, technology, and medicine.

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What are the relationships between the Board and the NRC/IOM, and between all of these and the National Academy of Sciences?

The National Materials and Manufacturing Board (NMMB), is part of the National Research Council's (NRC) Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS). The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the NRC are the four organizations that comprise the National Academies. The NRC is the operating arm of the NAS and the NAE. Congressional charter established the NAS in 1863. The NRC, NAE, and IOM were established under the same charter in 1916, 1964, and 1970, respectively, and are all private, non-profit, self-governing membership bodies.

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What is the relationship between the National Materials and Manufacturing Board and DEPS?

The Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) is the unit of the National Research Council (NRC) that encompasses the NMMB. NMMB has liaison members from DEPS.

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Are your meetings open to the public?

All meetings are open to the public, unless otherwise stated, such as when a committee is deliberating over final conclusions and recommendations. However, we do ask that you RSVP if you would like to attend a meeting, so that we can ensure that the meeting space is large enough to accommodate everyone who plans to attend.

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How can I learn about meetings before they take place instead of after they have taken place?

You can visit our Web site regularly to see if any new meetings have been added, or contact us via phone or e-mail with any questions.

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Who sits on your committees?

The projects undertaken by the National Academies are conducted or overseen by expert committees. Our committees are comprised of 10-20 volunteers from a range of disciplines and sectors, with expertise pertinent to the issues under consideration. Prospective committee members are identified in a variety of ways, most of which involve suggestions from individuals considered knowledgeable in the fields in which nominees are sought. Once a list of nominees has been developed, the list is sent to the chair of the National Research Council (NRC) for approval.

The NRC procedures include specific questions and assessments at virtually every stage of a project that are designed to bring possible conflicts of interest to the surface. Two essential parts of this process are, at the time of appointment, completion of a short form on "Potential Sources of Bias" that lists professional and financial connections and indicates any positions taken in relevant public statements, and discussion of this information at the committee's first meeting. When it is difficult to find individuals with the pertinent knowledge who have not been involved previously with an issue that will come before the committee, the situation is resolved by selecting a carefully balanced group so that all points of view can be represented.

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Are you a government agency?

The National Academies were created by the federal government to serve as advisers on scientific and technological matters. The National Academies are private, non-governmental organizations, and we do not receive direct federal appropriations for our work. Many of our studies are funded by government agencies, but we also receive funding from private foundations.

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Are you related to the NSF or NIH?

The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health are government agencies and are not related to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Research Council (NRC), or the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

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Do you award grants?

No. The National Materials and Manufacturing Board was created to address and advise on major national and international materials issues in an impartial and expert manner. The focus of the Board is to (1) be a key focal point for analyses and recommendations relating to materials policy issues; (2) assess the state of materials technology and the essential and primary needs of the materials community; and (3) to appraise and make recommendations for the improvement of the effectiveness of U.S. materials science and engineering institutions.

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Where does the Board get funding?

We are funded by a combination of government agencies and private sponsors. Public support has come from U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Institutes of Health.

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How are your reports reviewed and produced?

Every report produced by the National Research Council undergoes a lengthy review process. In addition to extensive review within the institution, individuals independent of the institution, who are not involved in the authoring study committee’s work, review the report. A report may not be released to a sponsor or the public until the chair of the Report Review Committee, or his or her designee, signifies that the institutional review process has been satisfactorily completed. This process ensures the credibility and authority of every NRC report by subjecting it to critical review by a body of peers highly knowledgeable in the subject matter. Adherence to the review process protects against a committee taking a narrow or parochial view of a problem, or failing to consider fully or properly document data or information pertinent to the issue under review. The process is particularly aggressive in differentiating committee opinions and judgment from findings of fact well grounded in research.

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Are your reports free or for sale? And are they all on the Internet?

Some of our publications are free, and most are available online at National Academies Press. Most are available for sale through National Academies Press. Please see our Publications section for information on the availability of specific reports. You can also request a hard copy of our list of publications by calling our publications order line at (202) 334-3505.

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