Academies Reports & Activities


The National Academies produces hundreds of written products each year on topics across the entire range of science, technology, engineering and health. Information about all of the Academies’ publications may be found at the website for The National Academies Press at, where the reports can be downloaded as free pdfs. The best known are the 200-300 consensus studies authored by an ad hoc committee of volunteers assembled for the task, which undergo independent peer review and offer findings and recommendations (for further information about the reports and the study process, see Although other activities such as workshops do not result in consensus reports, discussions at workshops and other events are often published in workshop summaries, websites, newsletters, and other formats to preserve and make publicly accessible the information or discussions from the event.

The reports on this site are all broadly related to biosecurity and are divided into 5 categories:

Please click here to view a sample of our most recent reports related to biosecurity topics.



The National Academies also carry out other activities related to biosecurity, such as convening symposia or holding other types of meetings that do not result in a formal written product.  Sometimes copies or audiotapes of the presentations or an unedited transcript of the meeting will available along with the agenda and information about the participants.  Although not frequent, these activities are also an important part of the record of the Academies engagement with biosecurity issues.  Because these activities are not as numerous as those that produce written products, brief descriptions and links to a number of them may be found at the bottom of this page.

Six Academies Symposia on Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology – unlike any research discipline that precedes it – has the potential to bypass the less predictable process of evolution to usher in a new and dynamic way of working with living systems.  Ultimately, synthetic biologists hope to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that do not exist in natural systems – capabilities that may ultimately be used for applications in manufacturing, food production, and global health.  Importantly, synthetic biology represents an area of science and engineering that raises technical, ethical, regulatory, security, biosafety, intellectual property, and other issues that will be resolved differently in different parts of the world.  As a better understanding of the global synthetic biology landscape could lead to tremendous benefits, six academies – the United Kingdom’s Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, the United States’ National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering – organized a series of international symposia on the scientific, technical, and policy issues associated with synthetic biology. Positioning Synthetic Biology to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century: Summary Report of a Six Academies Symposium Series summarizes the symposia proceedings.

Disasters Roundtable: All-of-Government Approaches to International Consequence Management for CBRNE Incidents

The workshop will start to build a coalition of diverse experts and stakeholders to explore ways to improve an all-of-government approach that increases resilience to international chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) incidents. The goal of the workshop is to document and develop measures of resilience to CBRNE events. Information generated will be shared openly through web-based media.

To view the video archive of the webcast, please click here.

To view the agenda for the workshop, please click here.


Workshops and Discussions

Microbial Forensics: Nexus between Science, Public Health and Law Enforcement (2008)

Sponsored by the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Technology, and Law and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Agenda available.

Sensitive But Unclassified Information at Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence – Roundtable Discussions (2006)

Convened by the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Technology, and Law and sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. Agenda and transcript available.

Deemed Export Policy: A Workshop on the Inspector General’s Report to the Department of Commerce (2005)

Sponsored by the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Technology, and Law Program, Roundtable on Scientific Communication and National Security, and Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable. Agenda and transcript available.

Scientific Openness and National Security (2003)

Sponsored by the National Academies and the Center for Strategic and International Studies



Workshop on Balancing National Security and Open Scientific Communication: Implications of September 11th for the Research University (2001)

Sponsored by the National Academies Endowment Fund

Letter Report (2002), Agenda, roster of planning committee members, list of registrants, and transcript of keynote address available.