International Policy Center Home Page

Prestigious National Academies committee selects Parthasarathy

February 7, 2022

Ford School professor Shobita Parthasarathy has been selected to serve on a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) that will help guide federal judges on questions of science, technology, and medicine in litigation. The committee will develop a fourth edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, working in collaboration with the Federal Judicial Center. 

The reference manual “does not instruct judges on how to rule regarding admissibility of particular types of evidence, but instead offers judges advice on how to manage expert testimony, discusses emerging problems with expert testimony, and provides information on the methodology of areas of science that often present difficult issues when introduced in the form of expert testimony,” according to NASEM.

Fellow committee members include several District Court judges, an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, and a judge from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Other academic members come from the Salk Institute, Stanford University, Iowa State University, George Washington University, Princeton University, and University of California, Irvine.

Parthasarathy, director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, says, “I'm very excited about this work. I'm looking forward to learning a lot, and helping judges navigate evidentiary and related questions when it comes to emerging science and technology. Hopefully our work will make a difference as new types of issues come before the courts.” 

Ford School Dean Michael Barr noted, “It is a real honor. I'm sure Dr. Parthasarathy will be able to help the judiciary navigate this thicket of complex issues. I look forward to seeing the work that she and the other members of the group will produce, and the impact it will have.”