A new roundtable of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will provide a neutral forum where representatives from government, industry, academia, and non-governmental and international organizations can meet on an ongoing basis to:


gather, critically examine, and communicate facts and data regarding the scientific, engineering, human and environmental health and safety, regulatory, economic, and societal aspects of unconventional hydrocarbon development;


identify and help to advance activities that would be of broad value to key stakeholders;


assist in informing decision making about development of these resources.

Activities of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are guided by a Statement of Task that is mutually agreed upon by the Academies and the activity’s sponsors.

Statement of Task

Focus Areas

As described in the statement of task, the roundtable will examine issues related to unconventional hydrocarbon resource development upstream, midstream, and downstream in support of three objectives:

  1. Data and Research: Critically examine the existence, availability, and adequacy of existing baseline data and research, and of data and research gaps and needs.
  2. Communication, Outreach, and Awareness: Inform participants about education and outreach opportunities and ongoing research through public meetings and workshops.
  3. Public-private Partnerships, Collaborations, and Self-Implementing Activities: Incubate activities to address pressing research issues, to share scientific information and data, and to develop best practices.

Activities and Products

Workshops, public meetings, and webinars will constitute the main body of activities of the roundtable. These activities will be conducted in accordance with institutional policy and will result in a range of multimedia products. Products may include peer-reviewed workshop summaries; archived webcasts of public workshops, meetings, and webinars; commissioned papers; the roundtable website, topical YouTube videos, and public outreach, education, and engagement through social media, museum programs, and other documents (brochures, newsletters, e.g.). The products developed from roundtable activities will not be consensus documents but will represent the current scientific and engineering information on the issues under discussion.

Membership and Duration

The roundtable membership will include sponsor organizations as well as nominated volunteer experts in relevant fields. The roundtable is initially organized for a three-year period.