The committee recommends that funding agencies consider the potential contributions of basic microbiology research to progress in metagenomics as they evaluate their overall research portfolios.
Because metagenomics constitutes a revolutionary advance in the ability of scientists to study a previously invisible biological realm, results of metagenomics studies have great potential interest not only for scientists but also for the general public. Metagenomics presents an important opportunity to engage the public in the excitement and value of basic and applied scientific research. Outreach efforts will help to train a new generation of scientists who are skilled in communicating science to the public.
The committee recommends that education and public outreach be components of all metagenomics projects. Both large and small projects can be used as catalysts for teaching microbiology. Each large project should have a budget for developing materials that explain its scientific basis and implications in accessible and interesting ways. Metagenomics researchers should be encouraged to teach about their science in their local communities and metagenomics projects should include training scientists in effective outreach teaching.