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A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research   (NMMB)
Released 2017-05-02 Forthcoming/Prepublication

The future security, economic growth, and competitiveness of the United States depend on its capacity to innovate. Major sources of innovative capacity are the new knowledge and trained students generated by U.S. research universities. However, many of the complex technical and societal problems the United States faces cannot be addressed by the traditional model of individual university research groups headed by a single principal investigator. Instead, they can only be solved if researchers from multiple institutions and with diverse expertise combine their efforts. The National Science Foundation (NSF), among other federal agencies, began to explore the potential of such center-scale research programs in the 1970s and 1980s; in many ways, the NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) program is its flagship program in this regard. The ERCs are “interdisciplinary, multi-institutional centers that join academia, industry, and government in partnership to produce transformational engineered systems and engineering graduates who are adept at innovation and primed for leadership in the global economy. To ensure that the ERCs continue to be a source of innovation, economic development, and educational excellence, A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research explores the future of center-based engineering research, the skills needed for effective center leadership, and opportunities to enhance engineering education through the centers.

Review of NASA's Planetary Science Division's Restructured Research and Analysis Programs   (SSB)
Released 2017-04-26 Forthcoming/Prepublication

The Research and Analysis (R&A) program managed by NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD), supports a broad range of planetary science activities, including the analysis of data from past and current spacecraft; laboratory research; theoretical, modeling, and computational studies; geological and astrobiological fieldwork in planetary analog environments on Earth; geological mapping of planetary bodies; analysis of data from Earth- and space-based telescopes; and development of flight instruments and technology needed for future planetary science missions. The primary role of the PSD R&A program is to address NASA’s strategic objective for planetary science and PSD’s science goals. Recently, PSD reorganized the R&A program to provide better alignment with the strategic goals for planetary sciences. The major changes in the R&A program involved consolidating a number of prior program elements, many of which were organized by subdiscipline, into a smaller number of thematic core research program elements. Despite numerous efforts by PSD to communicate the rationale for the reorganization and articulate clearly the new processes, there has been significant resistance from the planetary science community and concerns in some sectors regarding the major realignment of funding priorities. Review of NASA’s Planetary Science Division’s Restructured Research and Analysis Programs examines the new R&A program and determines if it appropriately aligns with the agency’s strategic goals, supports existing flight programs, and enables future missions. This report explores whether any specific research areas or subdisciplinary groups that are critical to NASA’s strategic objectives for planetary science and PSD’s science goals are not supported appropriately in the current program or have been inadvertently disenfranchised through the reorganization.

Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report   (BEES)
Released 2017-04-25 Forthcoming/Prepublication

Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report follows on four previous reviews of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, which was the predecessor of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership. The U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle Efficiency and Energy Sustainability) vision, according to the charter of the Partnership, is this: American consumers have a broad range of affordable personal transportation choices that reduce petroleum consumption and significantly reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector. Its mission is as follows: accelerate the development of pre-competitive and innovative technologies to enable a full range of efficient and clean advanced light-duty vehicles (LDVs), as well as related energy infrastructure. The Partnership focuses on precompetitive research and development (R&D) that can help to accelerate the emergence of advanced technologies to be commercialization-feasible. The guidance for the work of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership as well as the priority setting and targets for needed research are provided by joint industry/government technical teams. This structure has been demonstrated to be an effective means of identifying high-priority, long-term precompetitive research needs for each technology with which the Partnership is involved. Technical areas in which research and development as well as technology validation programs have been pursued include the following: internal combustion engines (ICEs) potentially operating on conventional and various alternative fuels, automotive fuel cell power systems, hydrogen storage systems (especially onboard vehicles), batteries and other forms of electrochemical energy storage, electric propulsion systems, hydrogen production and delivery, and materials leading to vehicle weight reductions.

Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?   (CSTB)
Released 2017-04-13

Recent years have yielded significant advances in computing and communication technologies, with profound impacts on society. Technology is transforming the way we work, play, and interact with others. From these technological capabilities, new industries, organizational forms, and business models are emerging. Technological advances can create enormous economic and other benefits, but can also lead to significant changes for workers. IT and automation can change the way work is conducted, by augmenting or replacing workers in specific tasks. This can shift the demand for some types of human labor, eliminating some jobs and creating new ones. Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce explores the interactions between technological, economic, and societal trends and identifies possible near-term developments for work. This report emphasizes the need to understand and track these trends and develop strategies to inform, prepare for, and respond to changes in the labor market. It offers evaluations of what is known, notes open questions to be addressed, and identifies promising research pathways moving forward.

2015-2016 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory   (ARLTAB,LAB)
Released 2017-03-31

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) provides biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the research, development, and analysis programs at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), focusing on ballistics sciences, human sciences, information sciences, materials sciences, and mechanical sciences. This biennial report summarizes the findings of the ARLTAB from the reviews conducted by the panels in 2015 and 2016 and subsumes the 2015-2016 interim report.

Report 1 on Tracking and Assessing Governance and Management Reform in the Nuclear Security Enterprise   (LAB)
Released 2017-03-30

A congressionally mandated study carried out in 2013-2014 led to the November 2014 report A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise. That report summarizes the panel’s findings on the current health of the enterprise, examines the root causes of its governance challenges, and offers the panel’s recommendations to address the identified problems. It concludes that the existing governance structures and many of the practices of the enterprise are inefficient and ineffective, thereby putting the entire enterprise at risk over the long term. It offers recommendations to put the entire nuclear security enterprise on a stronger footing. Recognizing the persistence of governance and management concerns, this report serves as an initial assessment of the implementation plan developed by the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department Of Energy for addressing the recommendations from A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise. There will be seven semi-annual interim reports to evaluate progress in implementing the plan. A final report will be issued at the end of the study to document the overall progress in executing the implementation plan, assess the effectiveness of the reform efforts under that plan, and recommend whether further action is needed.

Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review   (SSB)
Released 2017-03-28

At the request of the Advisory Committee for Geosciences of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a review of the Geospace Section of the NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences was undertaken in 2015. The Portfolio Review Committee was charged with reviewing the portfolio of facilities, research programs, and activities funded by Geospace Section and to recommend critical capabilities and the balance of investments needed to enable the science program articulated in the 2013 NRC decadal survey Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. The Portfolio Review Committee's report Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025 (ICCGS) was accepted by the Advisory Committee for Geosciences in April 2016. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review provides an independent assessment of the ICCGS report. This publication assesses how well the ICCGS provides a clear set of findings, conclusions, and recommendations for Geospace Section that align with the science priorities of the NRC decadal survey, and adequately take into account issues such as the current budget outlook and the science needs of the community. Additionally, this study makes recommendations focused on options and considerations for NSF's implementation of the ICCGS recommendations.

Refining the Concept of Scientific Inference When Working with Big Data: Proceedings of a Workshop   (CATS,BMSA)
Released 2017-02-24

The concept of utilizing big data to enable scientific discovery has generated tremendous excitement and investment from both private and public sectors over the past decade, and expectations continue to grow. Using big data analytics to identify complex patterns hidden inside volumes of data that have never been combined could accelerate the rate of scientific discovery and lead to the development of beneficial technologies and products. However, producing actionable scientific knowledge from such large, complex data sets requires statistical models that produce reliable inferences (NRC, 2013). Without careful consideration of the suitability of both available data and the statistical models applied, analysis of big data may result in misleading correlations and false discoveries, which can potentially undermine confidence in scientific research if the results are not reproducible. In June 2016 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop to examine critical challenges and opportunities in performing scientific inference reliably when working with big data. Participants explored new methodologic developments that hold significant promise and potential research program areas for the future. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Strengthening Data Science Methods for Department of Defense Personnel and Readiness Missions   (BMSA)
Released 2017-02-06

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), referred to throughout this report as P&R, is responsible for the total force management of all Department of Defense (DoD) components including the recruitment, readiness, and retention of personnel. Its work and policies are supported by a number of organizations both within DoD, including the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), and externally, including the federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) that work for DoD. P&R must be able to answer questions for the Secretary of Defense such as how to recruit people with an aptitude for and interest in various specialties and along particular career tracks and how to assess on an ongoing basis service members’ career satisfaction and their ability to meet new challenges. P&R must also address larger-scale questions, such as how the current realignment of forces to the Asia-Pacific area and other regions will affect recruitment, readiness, and retention. While DoD makes use of large-scale data and mathematical analysis in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and elsewhere—exploiting techniques such as complex network analysis, machine learning, streaming social media analysis, and anomaly detection—these skills and capabilities have not been applied as well to the personnel and readiness enterprise. Strengthening Data Science Methods for Department of Defense Personnel and Readiness Missions offers and roadmap and implementation plan for the integration of data analysis in support of decisions within the purview of P&R.

Cryptographic Agility and Interoperability: Proceedings of a Workshop   (CSTB)
Released 2017-02-03

In May 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a workshop on Cryptographic Agility and Interoperability. Speakers at the workshop discussed the history and practice of cryptography, its current challenges, and its future possibilities. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.