Bulletin of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering
The Academy publishes the Bulletin of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, a quarterly publication that is available in both print and electronic format. Click here to subscribe.
Reports and Studies
In the latest issue of the Bulletin:
The Connecticut Stem Cell Research Program
Taking a Measure of the Progress After the First Six Years
Although stem cells and regenerative medicine are terms often heard in the in the news these days, stem cell research is a relatively new area of exploration for scientists. It is frequently featured in the media because many scientists believe that these special cells have the potential to significantly benefit human health. This is due to the two unique qualities of stem cells: the ability to develop into different cell types and their capacity for indefinite growth or “self-renewal.” Scientists can use these special cells to study the growth and development of tissues and organs, to develop new drugs and to study genetic diseases from the earliest stages. Because their growth can be guided in the laboratory, researchers can use them to produce specific cells types via a process called differentiation. For example, a scientist researching spinal cord injury can culture new nerve cells from stem cells to replace those that have been injured. Stem cells have the potential to become a new tool for physicians to treat patients and for scientists to uncover cures.
It is worth noting that much of this groundbreaking work with stem cells is taking place right here in Connecticut. [Read More]
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Executive summaries of all recent reports issued by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering are available online. Most recent reports, including the three latest ones listed below, are also available in their entirety online in PDF format (please note that some files are large and may take a few minutes to download, depending on your connection speed). Hard copies of recent reports may be ordered for a fee.
"Connecticut Stem Cell Research Program Accomplishments"
Released February 21, 2013
Stem cell research has the potential for significant benefits to human health. Scientists are exploring the use of stem cells for the growth and development of tissues and organs, developing new drugs and studying genetic diseases.
In 2005, Connecticut joined California and New Jersey as the only states to allocate public funds for stem cell research (Public Act 05-149). The Connecticut Stem Cell Research Program was appropriated $20M for grants-in-aid for embryonic or human adult stem cell research. Additionally, this act allocated a total of $80M to be used over the course of seven years (2008-2015) from the state’s Tobacco Settlement Fund to support additional stem cell research. The stated purpose of the program is to “support the advancement of embryonic and/or human adult stem cell research in Connecticut.” While the political and scientific environments of today are quite changed from when the act was adopted, the need for funding stem cell research has not diminished.
At year six of the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Program, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and Connecticut Innovations (CI) asked the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) to conduct an analysis of the accomplishments of the program, and to report findings and recommendations to DPH and CI.
[Full Report / 1.5 MB][Executive Summary]
"Strategies for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs and Resources for Assuring Connecticut's Skilled Workforce Meets the Needs of Business and Industry Today and in the Future"
Released December 28, 2012
The General Assembly tasked the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) with studying the workforce alignment system in Connecticut. The impetus for this study was the recognition that on the heels of the Great Recession, the state did not have an effective workforce alignment system to assist residents and businesses in their recovery from the economic downturn. This study was conducted at a time in which the General Assembly and the governor were realigning the workforce system and actively pursuing fundamental structural reforms.
The study’s goal is to identify strategies and mechanisms to assess and evaluate the value and effectiveness of those state programs and resources that have a goal of providing businesses and industries in Connecticut with a skilled workforce (with a focus on fields related to science,technology, engineering and mathematics) that meets the needs and expectations of employers, and at the same time, seeks to ensure that students receive the education they need and expect to successfully work in today’s jobs/careers and in the jobs/careers of the future. This study is not an evaluation of particular programs or industries in Connecticut, but rather, provides guidance to assure that the state continually maintains an agile, flexible workforce system thatcan respond to needs of residents and businesses in a constantly changing environment.
[Full Report / 3.6 MB][Executive Summary]
"Benchmarking Connecticut’s Transportation Infrastructure Capital Program with Other States"
Released September 5, 2012
This study was conducted to benchmark Connecticut’s performance in capital programming against other state DOTs, identify ways to improve the performance and efficiency of the capital programming process and create a tool, a “Transportation Investment Dashboard,” to communicate the performance of Connecticut’s capita program to the state’s transportation leadership.
Current data suggest that Connecticut’s capital program may be more reliant on
federal sources than the selected benchmark and best practice states reviewed in
this study. This finding may indicate that expanded state investment and/or
alternative sources of revenue will be needed to keep pace with the state’s capital
investment needs. ConnDOT is currently involved in many initiatives that are
intended to improve the efficiency of the state’s capital programming process and
linkage to long-term transportation goals. These initiatives should be continued
and progress should be tracked in a transportation investment dashboard using
relevant financial data and performance measures. These performance measures
should also be used in formalizing the linkage between long-term planning and
capital programming, and to ensure that resources are adequate to meet future
[Full Report / 2 MB][Executive Summary]
[CASE Briefing on Benchmarking Connecticut's Transportation Infrastructure Capital Program with Other States — September 19, 2012.]
"Alternative Methods for Safety Analysis and Intervention for Contracting Commercial Vehicles and Drivers in Connecticut"
Released June 8, 2012
This study evaluated Connecticut’s current system for qualifying contractors for
the use of commercial vehicles on state contracts, identifies its impacts, and
makes recommendations on how the state should revise the current system. The
primary conclusion is that the current contractor qualification system used by
Connecticut for the award of state contracts should be revised. Specifically, the
use of a contractor’s out-of-service rating and CSA/SMS scores is neither
statistically valid nor justified for the purpose of qualifying contractors for the
use of commercial vehicles on state contracts. Under the recommended system, the
state would qualify contractors based on proof of required insurance coverage and
certification by the contractor that: they are enrolled in a drug and alcohol
testing program, if applicable; they are not currently suspended from operating
commercial vehicles by FMCSA; their drivers are in good standing; they are in
compliance with all state/federal regulations/laws; and they have no outstanding
fines or fees due to the state. Additionally, state agencies would periodically
sample contractor records to verify compliance with contractor qualification
requirements throughout a contract period. It is also recommended that
subcontractors should be held to the same standards as the primary contractor.
[Full Report / 6 MB] [Executive Summary]
[CASE Briefing on Alternative Methods for Safety Analysis and Intervention for Contracting Commercial Vehicles and Drivers in Connecticut — June 8, 2012. Video provided Courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.]
"Guidelines for the Development of a Strategic Plan for Accessibility to and Adoption of Broadband Services in Connecticut"
Released December 30, 2011
The State of Connecticut received federal stimulus funding to create a Strategic Plan for Accessibility to and Adoption of Broadband Services in Connecticut. CASE conducted a study on behalf of the Office of Consumer Counsel and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for the purposes of providing guidance for the state to use in its formulation of the strategic plan. The Connecticut Economic Resource Center was engaged by CASE to conduct the research for the study. The study methodology included: input from broadband experts; research on leading broadband programs and initiatives; surveys of consumers and businesses; focus groups conducted throughout the state; and integration of the state mapping project findings into the final report.
The CASE report describes broadband as the electricity of the 21st century and a major driver of the global economy. By improving communication and the flow of information and social interaction, broadband facilitates job creation, reduces miles driven and fossil fuels consumed, expands consumer choice, and improves competition for goods and services. The CASE Study Committee found that given the role broadband plays in increasing economic competitiveness, it merits significant attention from state policy makers to ensure that the state is a global leader in broadband networking capacity that can support the applications of tomorrow, enhancing personal and economic growth and educational attainment.
The report recognizes that Connecticut has benefited from millions of dollars of broadband infrastructure investments by the private and public sectors resulting in nearly ubiquitous broadband service coverage. However, the CASE study committee found that Connecticut lacks coordination among broadband policy makers and does not have clearly defined broadband goals – a benchmark of successful broadband leaders and programs.
The CASE study committee recommends that the state’s strategic plan should establish goals and objectives, continue initiatives already underway, and leverage public and private investments. The recommendations focus on five main areas that warrant state attention: state organization – including formalizing communications among agencies through a broadband cabinet; establishing goals and progress metrics; adoption of broadband; pole attachment and cell tower siting processes; and infrastructure and access.
[Full Report / 5 MB] [Executive Summary]
[Press Release] [Summary of Key Points]
"Advances in Nuclear Power Technology"
Released October 26, 2011
Nuclear power has provided and continues to provide a significant percentage of emission-free baseload electricity generation in Connecticut and the New England region. Adding or replacing baseload electricity generation for the state and the New England region involves many considerations. Decisions made by the leadership of the state and the region should be based on achieving regional goals that include a variety of factors such as cost of electricity, air quality goals, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) goals, fuel diversity, and reliability. All options to achieve these goals should be considered, including nuclear power for either additional or replacement baseload generation, both for the short- and long-term, along with a continued commitment and effort to maximize energy efficiency and to reduce peak demand. Lead times for securing approval for and constructing new nuclear power plants, or any electricity generating facilities, are significant. Therefore, it is necessary to look well into the future to consider options for replacing existing generation and for providing additional generation.
The Study Committee on Advances in Nuclear Power Technology considered the operational experience of the nuclear power industry including its demonstrated reliability, safety, and waste disposal practices; advances incorporated in today’s nuclear power plant designs; and future improvements being developed for the next generation of nuclear power plants. The Committee also reviewed lessons learned from the nuclear incident at Three Mile Island and the events triggered by the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, as well as from the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. In addition, the study included a survey of Connecticut citizens to better ascertain public acceptance of nuclear power and knowledge on a broad range of energy issues, and an economic impact analysis of nuclear power generation in Connecticut.
[Full Report / 11.7 MB] [Executive Summary]
[Press Release] [Key Points] [Facts & Figures]
[CASE Briefing on the Advances in Nuclear Power Technology Study for the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board - December 9, 2011. Video provided Courtesy of CT-N and hosted by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.]
Video recordings of presentations made to the CASE Study Committee are available online (courtesy of the Office of Research, Connecticut Department of Transportation):
Powerpoint Presentations (in PDF format) from the December 9, 2011, Briefing before the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board:
"Environmental Mitigation Alternatives for Transportation Projects in Connecticut"
Released September 22, 2010
The objective of this study was to determine whether consolidated mitigation alternatives such as In-lieu Fee (ILF) and Wetland Banking (WB) programs are viable options to be implemented in Connecticut. Specifically, the study focused on whether the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) could develop such programs for their own use. ConnDOT is interested in the potential for alternative mitigation strategies to decrease costs and improve construction timing while potentially increasing wetland environmental benefits. To address this objective, published literature was reviewed concerning mitigation practices and surveys of other states and potential third parties were conducted to identify possible solutions. The primary study recommendation is for ConnDOT to more thoroughly evaluate the cost-benefits of implementing an ILF EMA program. As significantly less money is required up-front for an ILF program than is required for a WB program, an ILF program is recommended as the most appropriate mechanism to provide EMAs in Connecticut. In addition, it is recommended that ConnDOT consider developing an ILF program for its transportation projects. ConnDOT’s decision to develop an ILF program should take into consideration potential cost savings and user and public relations benefits for eliminating construction delays associated with more timely mitigation approval, as well as the increased environmental benefits of larger, more contiguous mitigation projects. Furthermore, in Connecticut the regulation of private impacts by municipalities prevents the private sector from buying into an EMA program. Until state law is amended to allow for private participation in an EMA program, ConnDOT would need to establish an EMA program accounting for only state impacts, hoping that a successful program will serve to prompt the General Assembly to update the state’s legal structure regarding wetland mitigation.
[Executive Summary] [Full Report/1.56 MB]
Click here to download a PDF file of the Sept. 30. 2010 CASE briefing on this study conducted at the Connecticut Department of Transportation in Rocky Hill.
Click here to view video of the Sept. 30, 2010 briefing.
"Peer Review of an Evaluation of the Health and Environmental Impacts Associated with Synthetic Turf Playing Fields"
Released June 15, 2010
On behalf of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC), and The Connecticut Agricultural Station (CAES), the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) performed a peer review of their final report on the Evaluation of the Health and Environmental Impacts Associated with Synthetic Turf Playing Fields. The scope of the Technical Review includes an examination of the appropriateness of the methods used to sample contaminants, conduct laboratory analysis, and perform human and ecological risk assessment. The Peer Review Committee (PRC) also evaluated the appropriateness of conclusions reached in the environmental and human health risk assessments. In addition, the PRC provided suggestions for future studies that were not part of the state agencies’ scope of work.
The CASE Peer Review Committee concluded, based on a review of the state’s reports, that there is a limited human health risk, and an environmental risk as shown by the high zinc levels detected. Furthermore, it is believed that some of the results can be easily misinterpreted by the public.
To view the studies reviewed in this report, click here.
[Full Report/624 KB]
"The Design-Build Contracting Methodology for Transportation
Projects: A Review of Practice and Evaluation for Connecticut
Released June 10, 2010
The objective of this study was to conduct a literature review to identify how the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (ConnDOT) use of design-build (DB) contracting methodology might benefit the State of Connecticut. There are well documented advantages and disadvantages to both DB and design-bid-build (DBB) methods that are discussed in this report with respect to transportation projects in Connecticut. The report focused on the challenges that must be overcome to make DB viable in Connecticut. This study was conducted by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) at the request of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT).
The report concludes that ConnDOT should be able to utilize the DB contracting methodology for design and construction of transportation-related projects, noting that DB is not entirely new to ConnDOT, as the commissioner has the authority to modify or eliminate the bidding process for emergency declaration projects. The General Assembly should adopt legislation permitting use of DB contracting as an option for transportation projects; the legislation should require ConnDOT to periodically report on its experience in utilizing DB contracting to the Transportation Committee and other relevant committees of the General Assembly for the purposes of determining the value and benefits of this method of contracting to the state and the public.
[Executive Summary] [Full Report/4.3 MB]
"A Study of the Feasibility of Utilizing Waste Heat from Central Electric Power Generating Stations and Potential Applications"
Released July 30, 2009
A significant by-product of power generation plants is rejected (or “waste”) heat. Rejected heat results from inefficiencies of the power generating process that are then rejected into the atmosphere or into bodies of water—Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound. Large quantities of heat are rejected in Connecticut—enough energy to heat every building in the state. In September 2008, the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board (CEAB) requested that the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) investigate the feasibility of using the rejected heat rather than wasting it.
Connecticut’s power plants transform energy stored in nuclear and chemical fuels, with roughly one-third being converted into useful energy and two-thirds being rejected as heat. The total heat currently being rejected from Connecticut’s power plants is an untapped resource that is roughly equal in value to all of the fossil fuels used for the state’s residential, commercial, and industrial sectors for process and space heating. The CASE Study Committee concluded that there are several beneficial uses for this rejected heat, and recommended the following:
- Rejected heat should be used to develop district energy (heating and cooling) systems in high population/employment areas;
- Waste heat enterprise zones should be created to encourage economic development; and
- To complement this effort, Connecticut should also explore the potential of growing algae for generating biofuel from fossil fuel stack gases, or cooling water reject heat.
Proven combined heat and power technologies can be utilized to capture rejected heat for useful purposes and will pave the path towards energy independence and security by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, while creating jobs and providing economic benefits, as well as improving the environment and energy efficiency. The challenge is to develop the policies and infrastructure necessary to utilize this valuable resource that is currently wasted.
[Press Release] [Executive Summary] [Full Report/16.2 MB]
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This page last updated:
March 28, 2013
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