Contact Us Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) The National Academies 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Tel: (202) 334-2694 Fax: (202) 334-3094 E-mail: Sustainability@nas.edu
Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program
The long-term goal of the National Academies’ Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program is to contribute to sustainable improvements in human well-being by creating and strengthening the strategic connections between scientific research, technological development, and decision-making. The program examines issues at the intersection of the three sustainability pillars—social, economic, and environmental—and aims to strengthen science for decision-making related to sustainability.The program concentrates on activities that are crosscutting in nature; require expertise from multiple disciplines; are important in both the United States and internationally; and engage multiple sectors, including academia, government, industry, and non-governmental organizations.The program’s focus is on sustainability issues that have science and technology at their core, particularly those that would benefit substantially from more effective applications of science and technology.
A National Research Council report provides a decision framework which can be used by policymakers to examine the consequences, tradeoffs, synergies, and operational benefits of sustainability-oriented programs. The committee identifies linkages among areas such as energy, water, land, and nonrenewable resources that are critical to promoting and encouraging long term sustainability within the federal policy framework, recognizing that progress towards sustainability involves many institutions. The report also recommends priority areas for interagency cooperation on specific sustainability challenges; identifies impediments to interdisciplinary, cross-media federal programs; and highlights scientific research gaps as they relate to these interdisciplinary, cross-media approaches to sustainability. A booklet provides a short summary of the report. Watch the report launch, held on July 24, 2013, at the University of California, Davis.
A 2011 report from the National Research Council presents a framework for incorporating sustainability into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s principles and decision making. The framework, which was requested by EPA, is intended to help the agency better assess the social, environmental, and economic impacts of various options as it makes decisions. The report is available to download from the National Academies Press. A report in brief provides a short summary of the report.
Watch the video!
Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability Established in 2002, the STS Roundtable provides a high-level forum for sharing views, information, and analysis related to harnessing science and technology for sustainability, and then catalyzing follow-on advisory Academy work. Members of the Roundtable include leading experts from research institutions as well as senior decision-makers from government and industry who deal with issues of sustainable development, and who are in a position to mobilize new strategies and resources for sustainability. In 2013-2014, one activity of the Roundtable is contributing to the emerging dialogue on the energy-water nexus.
Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability (NELS) Launched in 2008, NELS is an event series for early career professionals from federal and local agencies, the National Research Council, NGOs, private sector and foundations, in the Washington DC area. The Network includes leaders with diverse backgrounds and expertise, from natural resource management to energy policy to public health. Through NELS, these emerging leaders foster relationships that enable them to more effectively bring about a sustainable future.
Sponsor-Requested Workshops and Studies Sponsored studies that enlist the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of sustainable development.
To learn more about sustainability activities, both in the STS program and throughout the other boards and committees of the National Academies, please view the list of publications, upcoming meetings and ongoing studies.