A Risk Sciences International glossary definition (Last modifed: December 15, 2023)

National Academy of Sciences [NAS]

« Back to Glossary Index

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit institution founded in 1863 under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Its primary objective is to provide independent, evidence-based advice on matters of science, engineering, and medicine to policymakers, professionals, and the public at large. It functions as part of the broader National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which also include the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

The NAS is composed of elected members who are considered to be among the most distinguished experts in their respective fields. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors a scientist can receive. The institution regularly convenes panels, forums, and committees to conduct studies and produce reports on a wide array of topics, including public health, environmental policy, and national security, among others.

In the realm of risk, the NAS often delves into the assessment, communication, and management of risks associated with natural disasters, health, technology, and more. They examine questions concerning risk in a nuanced manner, incorporating scientific data, social perspectives, and ethical considerations. They produce comprehensive reports that offer not just scientific data but also policy recommendations for government agencies, industry stakeholders, and other interested parties. These reports aim to guide decision-making processes in ways that balance the potential benefits and risks involved in a particular issue, be it the deployment of new technologies or the management of natural resources.

Given that risk is a multifaceted concept that permeates various disciplines, NAS’s work in this field is often interdisciplinary, involving experts from natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and ethics. Thus, the NAS’s role in the field of risk is both wide-ranging and impactful, contributing significantly to the scientific and policy discourse in the United States and globally.

« Back to Glossary Index