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Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey: Challenges, Tradeoffs, and Opportunities

April 29, 2015 Comments off

Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey: Challenges, Tradeoffs, and Opportunities
Source: National Research Council

The American Community Survey (ACS) was conceptualized as a replacement to the census long form, which collected detailed population and housing data from a sample of the U.S. population, once a decade, as part of the decennial census operations. The long form was traditionally the main source of socio-economic information for areas below the national level. The data provided for small areas, such as counties, municipalities, and neighborhoods is what made the long form unique, and what makes the ACS unique today. Since the successful transition from the decennial long form in 2005, the ACS has become an invaluable resource for many stakeholders, particularly for meeting national and state level data needs. However, due to inadequate sample sizes, a major challenge for the survey is producing reliable estimates for smaller geographic areas, which is a concern because of the unique role fulfilled by the long form, and now the ACS, of providing data with a geographic granularity that no other federal survey could provide. In addition to the primary challenge associated with the reliability of the estimates, this is also a good time to assess other aspects of the survey in order to identify opportunities for refinement based on the experience of the first few years.

Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey provides input on ways of improving the ACS, focusing on two priority areas: identifying methods that could improve the quality of the data available for small areas, and suggesting changes that would increase the survey’s efficiency in responding to new data needs. This report considers changes that the ACS office should consider over the course of the next few years in order to further improve the ACS data. The recommendations of Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey will help the Census Bureau improve performance in several areas, which may ultimately lead to improved data products as the survey enters its next decade.

Available Evidence Suggests That Possible Regulation of Cigarettes Not Likely to Significantly Change U.S. Illicit Tobacco Market

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Available Evidence Suggests That Possible Regulation of Cigarettes Not Likely to Significantly Change U.S. Illicit Tobacco Market
Source: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine

Although there is insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about how the U.S. illicit tobacco market would respond to any new regulations that modify cigarettes—for example, by lowering nicotine content—limited evidence suggests that demand for illicit versions of conventional cigarettes would be modest, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.

Tobacco use has declined in the past few decades due to measures such as high taxes on tobacco products and bans on advertising, though there are still more than 1 billion people worldwide who regularly use tobacco, including many who purchase their products illicitly. Illicit tobacco markets can undermine public health efforts to reduce tobacco use, while depriving governments of revenue. In the United States, the revenue losses are borne mostly by the states.

Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability (2015)

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability (2015)
Source: National Research Council

By 2050 the world’s population is projected to grow by one-third, reaching between 9 and 10 billion. With globalization and expected growth in global affluence, a substantial increase in per capita meat, dairy, and fish consumption is also anticipated. The demand for calories from animal products will nearly double, highlighting the critical importance of the world’s animal agriculture system. Meeting the nutritional needs of this population and its demand for animal products will require a significant investment of resources as well as policy changes that are supportive of agricultural production. Ensuring sustainable agricultural growth will be essential to addressing this global challenge to food security.

Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability identifies areas of research and development, technology, and resource needs for research in the field of animal agriculture, both nationally and internationally. This report assesses the global demand for products of animal origin in 2050 within the framework of ensuring global food security; evaluates how climate change and natural resource constraints may impact the ability to meet future global demand for animal products in sustainable production systems; and identifies factors that may impact the ability of the United States to meet demand for animal products, including the need for trained human capital, product safety and quality, and effective communication and adoption of new knowledge, information, and technologies.

The agricultural sector worldwide faces numerous daunting challenges that will require innovations, new technologies, and new ways of approaching agriculture if the food, feed, and fiber needs of the global population are to be met. The recommendations of Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability will inform a new roadmap for animal science research to meet the challenges of sustainable animal production in the 21st century.

Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability (2015)

March 30, 2015 Comments off

Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability (2015)
Source: National Research Council

By 2050 the world’s population is projected to grow by one-third, reaching between 9 and 10 billion. With globalization and expected growth in global affluence, a substantial increase in per capita meat, dairy, and fish consumption is also anticipated. The demand for calories from animal products will nearly double, highlighting the critical importance of the world’s animal agriculture system. Meeting the nutritional needs of this population and its demand for animal products will require a significant investment of resources as well as policy changes that are supportive of agricultural production. Ensuring sustainable agricultural growth will be essential to addressing this global challenge to food security.

Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability identifies areas of research and development, technology, and resource needs for research in the field of animal agriculture, both nationally and internationally. This report assesses the global demand for products of animal origin in 2050 within the framework of ensuring global food security; evaluates how climate change and natural resource constraints may impact the ability to meet future global demand for animal products in sustainable production systems; and identifies factors that may impact the ability of the United States to meet demand for animal products, including the need for trained human capital, product safety and quality, and effective communication and adoption of new knowledge, information, and technologies.

The agricultural sector worldwide faces numerous daunting challenges that will require innovations, new technologies, and new ways of approaching agriculture if the food, feed, and fiber needs of the global population are to be met. The recommendations of Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability will inform a new roadmap for animal science research to meet the challenges of sustainable animal production in the 21st century.

The Future of Home Health Care: Workshop Summary (2015)

March 26, 2015 Comments off

The Future of Home Health Care: Workshop Summary (2015)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

Individuals with disabilities, chronic conditions, and functional impairments need a range of services and supports to keep living independently. However, there often is not a strong link between medical care provided in the home and the necessary social services and supports for independent living. Home health agencies and others are rising to the challenges of meeting the needs and demands of these populations to stay at home by exploring alternative models of care and payment approaches, the best use of their workforces, and technologies that can enhance independent living. All of these challenges and opportunities lead to the consideration of how home health care fits into the future health care system overall.

On September 30 and October 1, 2014, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council convened a public workshop on the future of home health care. The workshop brought together a spectrum of public and private stakeholders and thought leaders to improve understanding of the current role of Medicare home health care in supporting aging in place and in helping high-risk, chronically ill, and disabled Americans receive health care in their communities. Through presentations and discussion, participants explored the evolving role of Medicare home health care in caring for Americans in the future, including how to integrate Medicare home health care into new models for the delivery of care and the future health care marketplace. The workshop also considered the key policy reforms and investments in workforces, technologies, and research needed to leverage the value of home health care to support older Americans, and research priorities that can help clarify the value of home health care. This summary captures important points raised by the individual speakers and workshop participants.

Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U.S. Nonprofit Sector: Conceptual and Design Issues: Summary of a Workshop (2015)

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U.S. Nonprofit Sector: Conceptual and Design Issues: Summary of a Workshop (2015)
Source: National Research Council

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation is responsible for national reporting of the research and development (R&D) activities that occur in all sectors of the United States economy. For most sectors, including the business and higher education sectors, NCSES collects data on these activities on a regular basis. However, data on R&D within the nonprofit sector have not been collected in 18 years, a time period which has seen dynamic and rapid growth of the sector. NCSES decided to design and implement a new survey of nonprofits, and commissioned this workshop to provide a forum to discuss conceptual and design issues and methods.

Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U.S. Nonprofit Sector: Conceptual and Design Issues summarizes the presentations and discussion of the workshop. This report identifies concepts and issues for the design of a survey of R&D expenditures made by nonprofit organizations, considering the goals, content, statistical methodology, data quality, and data products associated with this data collection. The report also considers the broader usefulness of the data for understanding the nature of the nonprofit sector and their R&D activities. Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U. S. Nonprofit Sector will help readers understand the role of nonprofit sector given its enormous size and scope as well as its contribution to identifying new forms of R&D beyond production processes and new technology.

Data and Research to Improve the U.S. Food Availability System and Estimates of Food Loss: A Workshop Report (2015)

February 14, 2015 Comments off

Data and Research to Improve the U.S. Food Availability System and Estimates of Food Loss: A Workshop Report (2015)
Source: National Research Council

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Economic Research Service’s (ERS) Food Availability Data System includes three distinct but related data series on food and nutrient availability for consumption. The data serve as popular proxies for actual consumption at the national level for over 200 commodities (e.g., fresh spinach, beef, and eggs). The core Food Availability (FA) data series provides data on the amount of food available, per capita, for human consumption in the United States with data back to 1909 for many commodities. The Loss-Adjusted Food Availability (LAFA) data series is derived from the FA data series by adjusting for food spoilage, plate waste, and other losses to more closely approximate 4 actual intake. The LAFA data provide daily estimates of the per capita availability amounts adjusted for loss (e.g., in pounds, ounces, grams, and gallons as appropriate), calories, and food pattern equivalents (i.e., “servings”) of the five major food groups (fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy) available for consumption plus the amounts of added sugars and sweeteners and added fats and oils available for consumption. This fiscal year, as part of its initiative to systematically review all of its major data series, ERS decided to review the FADS data system. One of the goals of this review is to advance the knowledge and understanding of the measurement and technical aspects of the data supporting FADS so the data can be maintained and improved.

Data and Research to Improve the U.S. Food Availability System and Estimates of Food Loss is the summary of a workshop convened by the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council and the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine to advance knowledge and understanding of the measurement and technical aspects of the data supporting the LAFA data series so that these data series and subsequent food availability and food loss estimates can be maintained and improved. The workshop considered such issues as the effects of termination of selected Census Bureau and USDA data series on estimates for affected food groups and commodities; the potential for using other data sources, such as scanner data, to improve estimates of food availability; and possible ways to improve the data on food loss at the farm and retail levels and at restaurants. This report considers knowledge gaps, data sources that may be available or could be generated to fill gaps, what can be learned from other countries and international organizations, ways to ensure consistency of treatment of commodities across series, and the most promising opportunities for new data for the various food availability series.

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