United States National Research Council
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The National Research Council (NRC) is the working arm of the United States National Academies, which produces reports that shape policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.
The National Academies include:
- National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
- National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
- Institute of Medicine (IOM)
Unlike the other three organizations of the National Academies, the National Research Council is not a membership organization.
The National Research Council was organized in 1916 in response to the increased need for scientific and technical services caused by World War I. On June 1, 1917, the council convened a meeting of scientific representatives of the UK and France with interested parties from the US on the subject of submarine detection. The results obtained and the problems in the work were discussed. A further meeting with the British and French was held in Paris in October 1918 at which more details of their work was disclosed. As a result of this, the council recommended that US scientists be brought together to work on the problems. A New York Group worked on "supersonics" as did a San Pedro Group. A New London Group worked on binaural receivers, while Chicago and Wisconsin Groups were assigned various problems in support of the other groups.
Due to the success of Council-directed research in producing a sound-based method of detecting submarines, as well as other military innovations, the NRC was retained at the end of the war, though it was gradually decoupled from the military. The Research Council is currently administered jointly by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, and its work is overseen by a Governing Board and an Executive Committee.
NRC volunteers are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine as well as the wider scientific population. The members of its committees are chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance and serve pro-bono. All NRC reports go through an extensive external review facilitated by the NRC internal Report Review Committee (also consisting of members from the NAS, NAE, and IOM).
In 2001, the Committee on the Science of Climate Change of the National Research Council published Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions. This report explicitly endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings as representing the view of the scientific community:
- The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rise are expected to continue through the 21st century... The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.2
- Who We Are | National-Academies.org | Where the Nation Turns for Independent, Expert Advice. National-Academies.org. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions