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October 2011
Volume 2, Issue 2




      CSTL Member News

      CSTL Events

      CSTL Impact

Activities In Progress
Future Activities



We are pleased to present the latest issue of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law newsletter, a semi-annual report on the activities, projects, and people of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Science, Technology, and Law (CSTL).


CSTL was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 to examine the growing number of areas where science, engineering, and law intersect in this era of increasing globalization. It is the only national committee that brings leading figures in science, engineering, and medicine together with members of the legal and policy communities for discussions about critical issues of mutual interest and concern.  CSTL meets bi-annually in a roundtable setting that provides a unique forum for intellectual inquiry and debate.  Through its reports and activities, CSTL brings widespread attention to issues of pressing national and international concern. The committee considers challenging issues at the nexus of science and law from two perspectives: 1) how law influences and constrains the practice of scientific and engineering research (law in the laboratory) and 2) how scientists and engineers participate in, and how their work is used by, the legal community (science in the courts).


For more information on CSTL, visit our website at



Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Third Edition 

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Third Edition

Project Information



 Review of the Scientific Approaches Used During the 2001 Anthrax Mailings

Review of the Scientific Approaches Used During the
FBI's Investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Mailings

Project Information

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing - Summary of a Workshop 

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Summary of a

Project Information

Managing University Intellectual Property in the Public Interest

Managing University Intellectual Property in the Public

Project Information

*As of June 2, 2011, all books in the National Academies Press catalog may be downloaded as a PDF for no charge at

NEWS (back to top)

CSTL MEMBER NEWS (back to top)

CSTL Co-Chair Richard Meserve Elected to National Academy of Engineering Council

CSTL Co-Chair Richard MeserveIn May, CSTL Co-Chair Richard Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Senior Of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP, was elected to the governing Council of the National Academy of Engineering.  The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers.  It promotes the technological welfare of the nation by marshalling the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession.  Dr. Meserve began serving his three year term on the Council on July 1.

CSTL Member Sophie Vandebroek Elected to Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts / Featured in MIT's Technology Review / Inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame

CSTL Member Sophie VandebroekIn December, CSTL member Sophie Vandebroek, Chief Technology Officer and President of the Xerox Innovation Group, was elected a foreign member of The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in the class of technical sciences (engineering).  The Academy encourages the arts and sciences in Flanders through the promotion of inter-university cooperation. This summer, Dr. Vandebroek was interviewed for the September/October edition of MIT's Technology Review.  In the resulting article, "New Technology Brings Offshoring to Villages ," she discusses how improved network access is transforming office and manufacturing work in India and the implications of this transformation for business efficiency and sustainability.  In addition, on October 3, she was one of four women inducted into the the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame for her achievements and contributions in science and technology. 

CSTL EVENTS (back to top)

October 2011 CSTL Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law will be held on October 24-25, 2011 in Washington, DC.  The meeting will feature panel discussions of the following topics: 1) Cloud Computing: Opportunities and Challenges; 2) Academic Freedom and the Public's Right to Know; 3) Geoengineering - Legal, Regulatory, and Policy Challenges; 4) Policy for Patenting Gene-Based Diagnostic Tools; and 5) Advances in Neuroscience: Implications for Adolescents, Law, and Public Policy.  For more information about the October and future meetings, please contact Steven Kendall at 202-334-1713 or .

The Enabling Technology of Synthetic Biology

Synthetic BiologyOn behalf of the National Academy of Sciences and with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, CSTL and the Board on Life Sciences (BLS) is organizing, in conjunction with the National Academy of Engineering, the British Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, three high-level international symposia to address next-generation policy challenges for synthetic biology.  The first symposium, entitled The Economic and Social Life of Synthetic Biology, was held in London at the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering on April 13-14, 2011.  On October 12-14, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering will host the second symposium of the series in Shanghai.  The symposium will feature sessions on the following topics:

  • Parts and Module Characterization and Design
  • Network Construction and Design
  • Synthetic Genomes and Cells
  • iGEM: Scientific, Technological, and Educational Impacts
  • Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Synthetic Bioloogy
  • Industrial Perspectives

Additional information on the Shanghai symposium is available at The final symposium in the series will be held in Washington, DC in June 2012. 

CSTL IMPACT (back to top)

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Third EditionOn September 28, 2011, at a public briefing, Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer and Judge Gladys Kessler, co-chairs of the committee tasked with developing the third edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence , presided over the release of the new edition.  The manual was developed by CSTL in collaboration with the Federal Judicial Center, which produced the previous editions, and is intended to assist judges with the management of cases involving complex scientific and technical evidence.  It is not intended, however, to instruct judges on what evidence should be admissible.  The third edition updates and expands chapters from previous editions and includes new chapters on topics including neuroscience, mental health, and forensic science.  Embargoed copies of this much anticipated new edition were requested by more than twenty credentialed reporters, and in the week since the manual was released, there have been more than 4000 downloads of the electronic version of the volume.

NAS President Ralph Cicerone References CSTL Forensic Science and Anthrax Reports in Annual Address to NAS Members

Forensic Science Report and Anthrax ReportIn his address to the 148th Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, NAS President Ralph Cicerone called attention to two CSTL reports;  Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward and Review of the Scientific Approaches Used During the FBI's Investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Letters .  In his remarks, Dr. Cicerone mentioned the Anthrax Report to illustrate the range of important topics considered by the National Academies and commented on the Forensic Science Report's continued impact two years after its release.



Six Party Symposia on Synthetic Biology

Under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), CSTL and the Board on Life Sciences (BLS) are organizing, in conjunction with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Royal Society (RS), Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), three symposia on synthetic biology in 2011-2012. The symposia build on a successful 2009 collaboration between the Royal Society, NAS/NAE, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) when these organizations partnered to sponsor an international symposium in Washington, D.C. entitled, Opportunities and Challenges in the Emerging Field of Synthetic Biology . The first symposium, which was held in the U.K. in April 2011, provided an overview of synthetic biology and developments in the past 5 years; an estimate of what might be achieved in the next 5, 10, and 25 year periods; the requirements and resources necessary for realizing value creation from synthetic biology; and the necessary conditions for an enabling environment.  The focus of the symposium in China will be the scientific and technical challenges that must be met to enable further development of the field.  The U.S. symposium will focus on next-generation tools, platforms, and infrastructure necessary for continued progress in synthetic biology, and the associated policy implications.  For more information, visit

FUTURE ACTIVITIES  (back to top)


Global Research Universities


CSTL and the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP) propose to organize three symposia to examine current cooperative models among global research universities. The symposia will examine four aspects of global research universities at the institutional, national, and international levels: 1) partnership models and mechanisms; 2) legal and regulatory aspects; 3) governance and quality; and 4) diplomatic and economic development. Symposia will be held in Asia, the Middle East, and the United States - regions experiencing a rapid growth in global research university partnerships. The symposia in Asia and the Middle East will survey the alliances among global research universities in science, engineering, and medicine. The symposium in the United States will summarize the collected data and discuss themes that have arisen at all three symposia. The meeting discussions will be informed by commissioned papers, data collection and analyses. The symposium series is expected to provide a deeper understanding of transnational university partnerships in research and higher education and to provide ideas for university, industry, and government leaders.  Following the series, a summary of the three symposia will be issued. 



Comments? Opinions? Suggestions of topics for discussion?  Submit them here.  Or contact us at:


Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: 202 334-1713
Fax: 202 334-2530




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