National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
The Keck Center of the National Academies by Matthew Bisanz.JPG
The Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.
Headquarters Washington, DC
scientists, engineers, and health professionals
Official language

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (also The Academies) serve (collectively) as the scientific national academy for the United States (US). The National Academies comprises: the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the National Research Council (NRC).


The program units act as the "working arm" of the Academies, which serves to collect, analyze, and share information through studies and reports.

The Academies produce independent recommendations and policy reports by enlisting top scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts (not limited to those in Academies membership) to address the scientific and technical aspects of some of society's problems. These experts volunteer to serve on study committees that are convened to answer specific sets of questions. All committee members serve without pay. The Academies do not perform original research; rather they provide independent advice. Federal agencies are the primary financial sponsors of the Academies' work; additional studies are funded by state agencies, foundations, other private sponsors, and the National Academies endowment. The external sponsors have no control over the conduct or results of a study, once the statement of task and budget are finalized. Study committees gather information from many sources in public meetings but deliberate in private in order to avoid political, special interest, and sponsor influence.

Through this study process, the National Academies produce around 200 reports each year. Recent[when?] reports cover such topics as addressing the obesity epidemic, the use of forensics in the courtroom, invasive plants, pollinator collapse, underage drinking, the Hubble Telescope, vaccine safety, the hydrogen economy, transportation safety, climate change, and homeland security. Many reports influence policy decisions; some are instrumental in enabling new research programs; others provide independent program reviews. The National Academies Press is the publisher for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and makes its publications available for free online reading, and the full book PDFs have been available for free download since 2011.

The Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship is an annual program for current or recent graduate students to spend three months working in the National Academies.[1] The Academies also administer the Marian Koshland Science Museum.


The US National Academy of Sciences was created by an Act of Incorporation in 1863, which was signed by the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln. Under this congressional charter, the National Research Council was created in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and the Institute of Medicine in 1970.

In 2015, the Institute of Medicine voted to change its name to the National Academy of Medicine. After this change, the organization changed to referring to itself as The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, from The National Academies.[2]

Honorary societies[edit]

The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine are honorary membership organizations, with a total membership of over 6,300 scientists, engineers, and health professionals. New members for each organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The organizations serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine."


  1. ^ "Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program". U.S. National Academies. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Institute of Medicine to Become National Academy of Medicine". The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

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