Rescuing Biomedical Research Workforce Initiative
Rescuing US Biomedical Research from its Systemic Flaws: Strategies and Pathways Ahead
An ominous imbalance exists between the steady increase in number of researchers competing for NIH funds and the decrease in real dollars available at NIH. This imbalance worsens each year and threatens to spiral out of control. This Madison workshop will make recommendations for how national policies should change to address this imbalance and also how policies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison should respond to the impending crisis.
In April 2014, a PNAS article published describing systemic flaws in the US biomedical research enterprise and made recommendations to address those flaws. Four influential scientists co-authored this article: Bruce Alberts (former President of the National Academy of Sciences and former Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine), Marc Kirschner (Chair, Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School), Shirley Tilghman (former President of Princeton University), and Harold Varmus (Director of the National Cancer Institute). The national response has been mixed—most agree that systemic flaws exist, but the recommended solutions were controversial. As a result, the co-authors are seeking input.
February Launch by Chancellor Rebecca Blank
February 16, 2015, 1 p.m., Room 165, Bascom Hall: Chancellor Rebecca Blank will launch the workshop events and co-organizers Judith Kimble, (Vilas Professor of Biochemistry and HHMI Investigator) and Marsha Mailick (Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education) will discuss problems faced and goals of the workshop in more detail. We invite all in the biomedical research community to attend this launch and learn more.
- Alberts et al., 2014
- Alberts et al., 2015
- American Academy: Restoring the Foundation
- Daniels, 2015
- FASB, 2015
- McDowell et al., 2014
- NIH ACD, 2012
On April 11, 2015, UW–Madison will hold a workshop, Rescuing US Biomedical Research from its Systemic Flaws: Strategies and Pathways Ahead. The choice of Madison is fitting, given our historic leadership roles in biomedical research, tech transfer and graduate education. All four co-authors have been engaged in the early planning stages of this workshop. Chancellor Rebecca Blank, WARF Managing Director Carl Gulbrandsen, and Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Marsha Mailick have joined forces to support and fund this event.
March Pre-workshop Discussions
A series of pre-workshop discussions will be held to discuss the issues and vet ideas for solutions. Attendance at these March discussions is open to all interested members of our community—students, postdocs, staff scientists, administrative staff, and faculty. These sessions will be highly relevant to researchers in the basic, clinical, biomedical, and social sciences as well as bioengineering. We invite you to attend any or all of these March pre-workshop sessions to learn more about the issues and, most importantly, to voice your own opinions.
These discussions are organized along four topics with sessions each week at each end of campus.
Numbers in the Biomedical Research Workforce. How should the pipeline change to reduce the number of independent investigators who compete for research funding?
- March 3, 2–4 p.m. Ebling Auditorium, Microbial Sciences Building
- March 5, 4–6 p.m. Room 1335, Health Sciences Learning Center
- Blume-Kohout Clack, 2013
- Daniels, 2015
- Callaway, 2015
- FASB, 2015
- Larson Diaz, 2012
- Larson et el., 2014
- NIH ACD, 2012
- UW CALS Strategic Plan
Shape of the Biomedical Research Workplace. How should university policies, departments and laboratories change to accommodate fewer governmental funds available to maintain them? This is the focus of the second week of pre-workshop discussions for the UW–Madison Workshop on Rescuing US Biomedical Research from its Systemic Flaws: Strategies and Pathways Ahead.
The current trend of flat or declining research funding has resulted in serious challenges for the research and education missions of universities such as UWâ€“Madison. This session will seek to identify areas in which universities and their scientists can become more competitive in obtaining extramural funding and more efficient in using these funds, through changes to existing practices or implementation of new approaches.
The Biomedical Workplace discussion will address a number of important questions. Is a shift from larger to smaller laboratories beneficial to the research and education missions of universities? Would we benefit from a re-organization of research space into continuously evolving, programmatic areas, rather than departments? As overhead revenues shrink, how can university policies be revised to meet increasing researcher needs? How do we more effectively organize to identify state of the art technologies and assemble teams to apply for funding?
We encourage you to add your voice to the discussion. The two Biomedical Workplace discussions will take place March 10 and 12 on the main campus and med school campus, respectively, and will include 30 minutes at the end exclusively for graduate students and postdocs to voice their opinions and share their ideas. Please join us for the entire discussion and stay for the grad student/postdoc session. Following the discussions, we will be surveying attendees and the broader university community to gather concrete suggestions for improving the shape of the biomedical workplace.
- March 10, 2–4 p.m. Ebling Auditorium, Microbial Sciences Building
- March 12, 4–6 p.m. Room 1335, Health Sciences Learning Center
NIH Grant Mechanisms. What mechanisms should be introduced or changed to increase funding available to young and mid-career investigators?
- March 17, 2–4 p.m. Ebling Auditorium, Microbial Sciences Building
- March 19, 4–6 p.m. Room 1335, Health Sciences Learning Center
NIH Evaluation Mechanisms. How should peer review be reconfigured to increase funding for proposals with potential for groundbreaking advances? The third week of our pre-workshop discussions focus on NIH Grant Mechanisms, specifically, what mechanisms should be introduced or changed to increase funding available to young and mid-career investigators? We encourage you to participate in these cross-campus discussions.
Each session includes 30 minutes at the end exclusively for graduate students and postdocs to voice their opinions and share their ideas. Please join us for the entire workshop and stay for the grad student/postdoc session.
Thank you for adding your input!
- March 24, 2–4 p.m. Ebling Auditorium, Microbial Sciences Building
- March 26, 4–6 p.m. Room 1335, Health Sciences Learning Center
April 11, 2015 Workshop
The major ideas generated during the March pre-workshop discussions will be presented and discussed at this workshop in April. Outside guests will include two PNAS co-authors (Alberts and Tilghman). Attendance at the workshop will be limited in number and open on a first come first serve basis. This website will be updated with a link to registration when it opens in mid-March. For those not able to attend, the workshop will be taped. Results will be published in a venue to be determined and the report will be presented in May 2015 at a national conference at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Workshop proceedings will be in the DeLuca Forum at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Coffee and a light snack will be available prior to the workshop, starting at 7:30 a.m. A reception for outside guests and attendees will be held from 5–6:30 p.m.
Session 1 Video: Numbers in the biomedical workforce
Session 2 Video: Shape of the biomedical workplace
Session 3 Video: NIH grant mechanisms
Session 4 Video: NIH evaluation mechanisms