The US National Research Council (NRC) has called on president-elect Barack Obama to overhaul the country's export-control system and to ease the visa process for foreign scientists.

In a report published on 8 January, the council warns that US security and economic growth are threatened by outdated export-control regulations, which restrict the flow of certain technologies and information to other countries. Rather than leaving items on the export-control list indefinitely, the NRC wants to see a 'sunset' rule imposed to reassess each item annually.

The report was co-chaired by former US national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and John Hennessy, president of Stanford University in California. It also suggests that Obama should speed up the processing of visa applications for foreign researchers and give international science and engineering students an automatic one-year visa extension to seek work or advanced study.