Current Projects

Information about most of the activities carried out at The National Academies can be found on the Current Projects System (CPS;  The CPS provides information about our current committee activities that are subject to the requirements of Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997 (FACA).  Information in CPS includes descriptions of project scope, names and affiliations of committee members and statements of their qualifications, notice of data-gathering meetings of committees, summaries of closed committee meetings or sessions, and titles of committee reports at the time that they are publicly released.  A Public Access Records Office to provide access to project materials is available to the public.

Not all activities of the National Academies are listed in CPS. Information on these other activities may be found by using the Search feature on the homepage of the National Academies ( or at the web sites of our major units such as the Transportation Research Board, which administers major research support programs, or the Institute of Medicine, which carries out a number of Forums on particular topics and issues.

This part of the Biosecurity website provides examples of current projects.  It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but we hope that you will find it a useful way to discover some of the many current activities relevant to biosecurity going on at the Academies.

Biodefense, Bioterrorism, and Bioweapons

PCR Standards for the BioWatch Program (more information to be posted soon)


Science Needs for Microbial Forensics: Developing an Initial International Roadmap

An ad hoc committee with substantial international membership will plan an international symposium and prepare a consensus report of findings and conclusions to address the science needs underlying the development of microbial forensics.  The results of the symposium, supported by additional information and data gathering by the committee, are intended to:

1. Foster collaboration within the international scientific community to support technical understanding and enhanced research on microbial forensics.

2. Develop the beginnings of an international roadmap for how to do the necessary science, including priorities among potential topics.

The project is sponsored by the US Navy, the US Department of state, and the National Academies.
The approximate start date for the project is 3/27/2013.
A report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 12 months.

Public Health

Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events


The Forum serves to foster dialogue among stakeholders and provide ongoing opportunities to discuss and confront issues of mutual interest and concern. The Forum provides a neutral venue for broad ranging policy discussions that serve to facilitate coordination and cooperation among the public and private stakeholders in developing and enhancing the nation’s medical and public health preparedness. More specifically, the Forum: provides a catalyst for voluntary public/private collaboration on topics where there is synergy among potential partners; helps define the scope of the field and thus sets the stage for future policy action; brings ongoing attention and visibility to important preparedness issues; explores new approaches for resolving problem areas; and elevates the general understanding and visibility of medical and public health preparedness in the broader research, public policy, and other appropriate communities.

Forum on Microbial Threats


In its 1992 report, Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States, the IOM pointed to some major challenges for the public health and medical care communities in detecting and managing infectious disease outbreaks and monitoring the prevalence of endemic diseases.  In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Infectious Diseases developed a national strategy for doing so and, with the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asked the IOM to convene a Forum on Emerging Infections that would serve as a follow-on activity for these initiatives. In 2003, the Forum changed its name to the Forum on Microbial Threats.

Post-Disaster Recovery of a Community’s Public Health, Medical and Social Services

Disaster recovery efforts may improve community health and promote wellness and resilience by addressing health disparities and the physical, social, and economic dimensions of community life. However, in the field of disaster and emergency management, post-disaster recovery has played an important, if low-profile role in the overall disaster response arena and, when addressed, frequently references the restoration of previously extant physical or economic systems within a community. In particular, the areas of focus tend to center on “bricks and mortar” infrastructure reconstitution (e.g. roads, bridges, housing stock, commercial structures, etc) and/or business and commercial recovery. Often times, absent from these conversations is the critical importance of health, including public health, medical and social services and their roles in supporting overall community recovery.

 With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee will conduct a study and issue a report on how to improve short, intermediate and long-term health outcomes in communities impacted by a catastrophic incident. The committee will investigate and identify key activities, recovery practices and novel programs that impact health outcomes in a community recovering from a disaster, and develop recommendations for their implementation.

 Science, Security, and Society

Ethical and Societal Implications of Advances in Militarily Significant Technologies that are Rapidly Changing and Increasingly Globally Accessible

The National Academies will develop a consensus report on the topic of ethical, legal, and societal issues relating to research on, development, and use of increasingly globally accessible and rapidly-changing technologies with potential military application, such as information technologies, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology.  This report will articulate a framework for policy makers, institutions, and individual researchers to think about such issues as they relate to these technologies of military relevance and to the extent feasible make recommendations for how each of these groups should approach these considerations in their research activities.  A workshop to be held as early as practical in the study would be convened to obtain perspectives and foster discussion on these matters.  A final report would be issued within 21 months of the project start providing the National Research Council’s findings and recommendations.

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