The National Academies’ BCST exists as the oversight group that ensures the highest quality scientific and technical advice is being provided to our Nation’s decision makers from experts in chemistry and chemical engineering. BCST is a forum through which the chemistry and chemical engineering communities can give back to society, demonstrate the broader impact of their expertise, and help address critical societal problems. Its mission statement calls for BCST to assure that our Nation’s decision makers receive the highest quality scientific and technical advice from experts in chemistry and chemical engineering.
BCST committees are currently active in four areas:
- Chemical and Energy Industries. This area is focused on issues that directly affect the chemical and energy industries, such as process safety, sustainable chemistry, and globalization of the chemical enterprise. Recent activities in this area include a study examining the design and evaluation of safer chemical substitutes and an upcoming study on the effects of diluted bitumen on the environment.
- National and Homeland Security. This area addresses safe and secure use of chemicals and responds to needs relating to homeland and national security. BCST committees have provided both the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security with advice related to chemical and biological defense, sensor technology, and explosives detection. Recent work includes an examination of core capabilities for research and development in chemical and biological defense on behalf of the Department of Defense, as well as the workshop summarized here.
- Education and Workforce. This area of focus seeks to assure that the training and education of chemists and chemical engineers continues to prepare them for successful careers in the global chemical enterprise. It also addresses questions relating to current and emerging workforce needs and dynamics. Recent work includes a study on communicating chemistry in informal environments and another study examining the culture of safety in academic laboratories.
- Basic Research. This area focuses on questions related to technical developments in chemistry and chemical engineering, factors that support a strong chemical research infrastructure to support societal needs, and research-related road-mapping and program reviews. Recent work in this area includes a study on current and future research opportunities in the glycosciences and a current study on the industrialization of biology.
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