Founded by Congressional Charter.
To meet the government's urgent need for an independent adviser on scientific matters, President Lincoln signed a congressional charter forming the National Academy of Sciences in 1863 to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science." As science began to play an ever-increasing role in national priorities and public life, the National Academy of Sciences eventually expanded to include the National Research Council in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and the Institute of Medicine in 1970.
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Known collectively as the National Academies, they produce groundbreaking reports that have helped shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. Read or download thousands of reports online at the National Academies Press.