rapidly for self-organizing and how new technology can be used to create solutions to immediate issues, Duyk said. Perhaps rapid response teams would be useful in this case, too.
Training of the next generation of scientists to operate in an innovative culture that connects basic and translational science teams was also discussed. Young people need to hear that leadership and management skills are important, said Duyk. If a young researcher wanted to take three courses in the business school, he or she would probably not be encouraged to do so, as this would distract from time dedicated to science. “You have to tell people what you think is important. You have to incent people, whether it’s economically or otherwise, to do the right thing. And be careful. You can send the wrong messages very easily,” said Duyk. Sherer said that not everyone needs to be an innovator, a leader, a project manager, or a cutting-edge scientist. “You have to figure out what are the opportunities for people and then provide the training for those. Not everyone wants to lead their own lab. They may want to be part of the team.”
Innovation in the current research system could also be catalyzed through the funding of fellowship grants and awards. MacArthur and Markey fellowships and awards from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are examples of ways to provide promising researchers and institutions with enough funding and freedom to explore and innovate, Duyk said. NIH funds New Innovator and Pioneer Awards as well. Success then begets more success, especially because other people in a system tend to follow winners. The distribution of funding over a broad range of recipients will not necessarily allow for the creation of an effective research model that people will follow, Duyk suggested. Similarly, a grand challenges approach can attract talent to problems that need to be solved, especially if this approach outlines a clear problem that needs to be solved and a prize is awarded as an incentive.
Change that would help translate discoveries could also come from achievement of better industry–academia collaboration. Achievement of such collaboration is often a difficult task because of conflicts of interest, Sherer said. Duyk observed that pharmaceutical companies are interested in investing money in academia, because it is cheaper than investing in biotechnology companies for some activities. However, complex conflict-of-interest rules can hinder such investments. The availability of better guidelines for collaboration that would address university technology transfer issues would also be useful. Technology transfer offices in universities need staff who can make good decisions and negotiate win-win agreements. The interface between the public and private sectors needs to be more functional, Duyk said.