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 Published by the American Geological Institute
Newsmagazine of the Earth Sciences

 July 2000

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources of the National Academies

Anthony de Souza

 The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academies and serves as an independent advisor on scientific and technical questions of national importance.

Established in 1988, the council’s Board on Earth Sciences and Resources (BESR) provides a focal point for National Research Council activities related to earth science policy. Through its committees, panels and working groups, it oversees a wide range of earth science issues, including research, the environment, natural hazards, resources, data and education. It also provides guidance on U.S. participation in international earth science programs.

The board:

BESR also responds to federal requests for information on specific technical or policy issues. Through a combination of technical analysis, peer review and round-table discussions, the board provides accurate and timely input to support wise decision-making in government, academia and industry, and to sustain the health of the earth sciences.

Current BESR activities:

The board is developing a formal strategic planning system. This system will help BESR more effectively set priorities for earth science research, identify the role of the earth sciences in major policy issues; and assure the quality of the science content in earth science and education.

By making significant progress in these areas, the board will help to build and sustain the earth sciences and their communities in the 21st century.

De Souza is director of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources of the National Academies National Research Council in Washington. He was also secretary general of the 27th International Geographical Union Congress, director of the National Geography Standards and editor of National Geographic Research & Exploration.

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