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A New Biology for the 21st Century
Information is the fundamental currency of the New Biology.
Solutions to the challenges of standardization, exchange, storage, security, analysis, and visualization of biological information will multiply the value of the research currently being supported across the federal government.
Biological data are extraordinarily heterogeneous and interrelating various bodies of data is currently precluded by the lack of the necessary information infrastructure.
It is critical that all researchers be able to share and access each others’ information in a common or fully interactive format.
The productivity of biological research will increasingly depend on long-term, predictable support for a high-performance information infrastructure.
The committee recommends that, within the national New Biology Initiative,priority be given to the development of the information technologies and sciences that will be critical to the success of the New Biology.
Investment in education is essential if the New Biology is to reach its full potential in meeting the core challenges of the 21st century.
The New Biology Initiative provides an opportunity to attract students to science who want to solve real-world problems.
The New Biologist is not a scientist who knows a little bit about all disciplines, but a scientist with deep knowledge in one discipline and a “working fluency” in several.
Highly developed quantitative skills will be increasingly important.
Development and implementation of genuinely interdisciplinary undergraduate courses and curricula will both prepare students for careers as New Biology researchers and educate a new generation of science teachers well versed in New Biology approaches.
Graduate training programs that include opportunities for interdisciplinary work are essential.
Programs to support faculty in developing new curricula will have a multiplying effect.
The committee recommends that the national New Biology Initiative devoteresources to programs that support the creation and implementation of interdisciplinary curricula, graduate training programs, and educator trainingneeded to create and support New Biologists.