Summary

Convergence is an approach to problem solving that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It integrates knowledge, tools, and ways of thinking from life and health sciences, physical, mathematical, and computational sciences,1 engineering disciplines, and beyond to form a comprehensive synthetic framework for tackling scientific and societal challenges that exist at the interfaces of multiple fields. By merging these diverse areas of expertise in a network of partnerships, convergence stimulates innovation from basic science discovery to translational application. It provides fertile ground for new collaborations that engage stakeholders and partners not only from academia, but also from national laboratories, industry, clinical settings, and funding bodies. The concept of convergence as represented in this report is thus meant to capture two closely related but distinct properties: the convergence of expertise necessary to address a set of research problems, and the formation of the web of partnerships involved in supporting such scientific investigations and enabling the resulting advances to be translated into new forms of innovation and new products.

Knowledge created by the process of convergence can contribute to

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1 Throughout the report, the term “physical sciences” is commonly used as shorthand to include fields such as physics, chemistry, materials science, and the mathematical and computational sciences.



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Summary C onvergence is an approach to problem solving that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It integrates knowledge, tools, and ways of thinking from life and health sciences, physical, mathemati- cal, and computational sciences,1 engineering disciplines, and beyond to form a comprehensive synthetic framework for tackling scientific and societal challenges that exist at the interfaces of multiple fields. By merg- ing these diverse areas of expertise in a network of partnerships, conver- gence stimulates innovation from basic science discovery to translational application. It provides fertile ground for new collaborations that engage stakeholders and partners not only from academia, but also from national laboratories, industry, clinical settings, and funding bodies. The concept of convergence as represented in this report is thus meant to capture two closely related but distinct properties: the convergence of expertise necessary to address a set of research problems, and the formation of the web of partnerships involved in supporting such scientific investigations and enabling the resulting advances to be translated into new forms of innovation and new products. Knowledge created by the process of convergence can contribute to 1  Throughout the report, the term “physical sciences” is commonly used as shorthand to include fields such as physics, chemistry, materials science, and the mathematical and computational sciences. 1

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2 CONVERGENCE • understanding complex biological systems such as the nervous system and applying that understanding to design new medical treatments; • improving patient outcomes through integrated knowledge man- agement and precision medicine; • revolutionizing manufacturing through advances such as on-site, three-dimensional printing; • creating new fuels and improved energy storage systems; and • meeting the world’s need for secure food supplies in a changing climate. The approach to research embodied by convergence is not the only way to advance knowledge or to work within and across disciplines. Research undertaken through other modalities or that addresses core problems not at interfaces of life, health, physical and engineering fields all provide critical contributions to the research enterprise. The results of such research also provide a wealth of knowledge that can be drawn on and recombined within convergence efforts. An example to illustrate the type of research challenge that would benefit from a convergence approach is presented in Box S-1. Many institutions are interested in how they can better facilitate con- vergent research. Despite the presence of established models (Table S-1), however, cultural and institutional roadblocks can still slow the creation of self-sustaining ecosystems of convergence. Institutions often have lit- tle guidance on how to establish effective programs, what challenges they might encounter, and what strategies other organizations have used to solve the problems that arise. The present study was undertaken to address this gap. It aims to explore mechanisms used by organizations and programs to support convergent research and provide informed guidance for the community (Box S-2). A data-gathering workshop held in September 2013 provided an opportunity for members of the com- munity interested in convergence to explore several key questions: What is enabled by convergence? What are the typical challenges encountered when nurturing it? What mechanisms can be used to support and facili- tate convergent research? This workshop and the development of the present report were supported by a diverse array of sponsors who reflect the broad audience interested in discussing and understanding the chal- lenges to implementing convergence effectively.2 2  The project was supported by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Science Fund of the National Academy of Sciences, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Kavli Foundation, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the National Science Foundation through grant PHY-1353249, the National Institutes of Health through award HHSN263201200074I/

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SUMMARY 3 BOX S-1 Engineering the Microbiome to Treat Disease: A Challenge that Requires Convergence of Expertise and Partnerships The human microbiome is the vast community of microorganisms that live within us, including on our skin and within our gut. Large-scale efforts to identify these microbes and correlate them with states of health and disease are under way, such as the Human Microbiome Project supported by the National Institutes of Health. By understanding the microbiome and microbial community interactions, it may be possible to develop therapies that harness altered versions of critical mi- crobial components. For example, researchers recently engineered a commensal gut bacterium to produce a signaling molecule that causes the pathogen Vibrio cholerae to reduce its expression of virulence factors such as cholera toxin. When mice ingested the engineered bacterium prior to infection with Vibrio cholerae, they showed decreased toxin binding and increased rates of survival (Duan and March 2010). The challenge of associating a particular microorganism or combination of microorganisms with a specific disease, developing an altered version of one or more key microbes, and translating this discovery into a therapy would be a long and complex undertaking that could not be accomplished without bringing together multiple areas of expertise and multiple partners. To accomplish this goal, for ex- ample, might require the following: •  NA sequencing technology to obtain genetic information on microbes D present in the body •  ife and chemical sciences experiments to further characterize the mi- L crobes detected •  athematical and computational tools to analyze the data generated, com- M pare sequences, and identify potential genes associated with the disease of interest •  ublic health studies to better understand the role of microbes in the par- P ticular disease state •  ngineering and synthetic biology expertise to design a microbe with al- E tered gene expression •  aterials science knowledge to encapsulate the engineered microbe into a M delivery system such as an ingestible pill •  linical trials and regulatory agency partnerships to approve the pill for hu- C man use • ndustry partners to scale up manufacturing and production I •  ocial and behavioral interventions to target the new treatment to the popu- S lations who would benefit from it HHSN26300047, TO#47, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science of North Carolina State University, the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Connecticut.

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4 CONVERGENCE TABLE S-1  Selected Examples of Convergence Institutes that Have Been Established in the United States • Bio-X, Stanford University • David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology • North Campus Research Complex, University of Michigan • Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago • Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University • Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology • Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute • Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Biology, Princeton University • California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), University of California Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and San Francisco • Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Yale University • USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, University of Southern California (announced 2014) BOX S-2 Statement of Task The National Research Council will appoint an expert committee to explore the application of “convergence” approaches to biomedical research and beyond. This approach is intended to realize the untapped potential from the merger of multiple disciplines to address key challenges that require such close collabora- tions. As its primary information-gathering activity, the committee will convene a workshop to examine examples or models drawn, if possible, from a range of ongo- ing programs, both large and small, public and private, in which such approaches are being implemented. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate understanding of how convergence in biomedical and related research can be fostered effectively through institutional and programmatic structures and policies, education and training programs, and funding mechanisms. The resulting report will summarize the lessons learned on successful approaches to implementing convergence in different types of research institutions. Convergence can represent a culture shift for academic organizations that are traditionally organized around discipline-based departments. Consequently, the challenges inherent in creating the necessary admin- istrative, research, teaching, partnership, and funding structures can be significant (see Table S-2 for examples). Stakeholders across the research

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SUMMARY 5 TABLE S-2 Comparison of Perspectives on Common Challenges Encountered in Fostering Convergence Common Recommendations Perspective of this Report Challenge (NAS et al. 2004) (2014) Institutions should explore Alternative structures alternative administrative must harmonize with structures and business models the existing culture that facilitate IDR across of investigator and traditional organizational laboratory autonomy. structures; institutions should Convergent science develop equitable and flexible fields provide a starting budgetary and cost-sharing point to organize around Establishing policies that support IDR. compelling scientific and effective societal challenges. organizational Allocations of resources from cultures, high-level administration to Factors such as differences structures, and interdisciplinary units, to further in cost recovery models governance their formation and continued among schools of science, operation, should be considered engineering, and medicine in addition to resource can complicate intra- allocations of discipline-driven university partnerships. departments and colleges. Laboratories and core facilities are expensive to start up and maintain (see Sections 4.3 and 4.5). Recruitment practices, from Promotion and tenure is recruitment of graduate students still obtained through a to hiring of faculty members, primary departmental should be revised to include affiliation for many faculty recruitment across department members undertaking and college lines. convergent research or associated with The traditional practices and convergence institutes. Addressing norms in hiring of faculty faculty members and in making tenure Differences in faculty development decisions should be revised to research and service and promotion take into account more fully the expectations among needs values inherent in IDR activities. science, engineering, and medical faculty may complicate collaborations, although multiple journal authors and diverse research contributors are already a norm within many science fields (see Section 4.4). continued

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6 CONVERGENCE TABLE S-2 Continued Common Recommendations Perspective of this Report Challenge (NAS et al. 2004) (2014) Educators should facilitate Curricula at the IDR by providing educational undergraduate level and training opportunities need to meaningfully for undergraduates, graduate integrate relevant students, and postdoctoral physical, mathematical, scholars, such as relating computational, and foundation courses, data engineering concepts gathering and analysis, and and examples into life research activities to other fields science courses and vice of study and to society at large. versa in order to provide Creating a solid foundation for education Institutions should support undertaking convergence. and training interdisciplinary education programs and training for students, Opportunities are needed postdoctoral scholars, to effectively fill in gaps researchers, and faculty by in training and expertise providing such mechanisms or to learn fundamentals as undergraduate research of a new area to foster opportunities, faculty team- a common language teaching credit, and IDR and understanding. management training. These opportunities are needed at the graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty levels (see Section 4.6). Academic institutions should Establishing extramural develop new and strengthen agreements is complex existing policies and practices and may be affected by that lower or remove barriers factors such as different to interdisciplinary research leadership, funding, and and scholarship, including cost-sharing models, or developing joint programs with different traditions and industry and government and expectations around nongovernment organizations. issues such as patent development and Forming Continuing social science, intellectual property stakeholder humanities, and information protection. partnerships science–based studies of the complex social and intellectual Taking full advantage of processes that make for the possibilities enabled by successful IDR are needed to convergence increasingly deepen the understanding of draws upon contributions these processes and to enhance from fields such as the the prospects for the creation economic and social and management of successful sciences, which have their programs in specific fields and own cultures and norms local institutions. that must be considered (see Section 4.7).

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SUMMARY 7 TABLE S-2 Continued Common Recommendations Perspective of this Report Challenge (NAS et al. 2004) (2014) Funding organizations should Government support recognize and take into is one component of consideration in their programs obtaining funding for and processes the unique convergence. Many challenges faced by IDR with convergence programs respect to risk, organizational have also obtained critical mode, and time. support from sources such as private philanthropists Funding organizations should and foundations interested regularly evaluate, and if in advancing science. Obtaining necessary redesign, their sustainable proposal and review criteria Income from startup funding to make them appropriate for companies and venture interdisciplinary activities. capital investors, which may be part of Congress should continue to convergence ecosystems, encourage federal research may also provide support agencies to be sensitive to (see Section 4.8). maintaining a proper balance between the goal of stimulating interdisciplinary research and the need to maintain robust disciplinary research. NOTE: As used in the table, IDR stands for interdisciplinary research. The prior recommen- dations cited in the table are drawn from NAS et al. (2004, pp. 5-7). enterprise will need to think strategically about the policies that support such efforts and how to implement and sustain them. For example, the training students receive will need to prepare them to work on challenges that cross disciplinary boundaries. The research advances enabled by convergence will ultimately need to be translated into new products and services as part of the network of partners who form the convergence ecosystem. The policies and procedures that universities use to translate technology can be better understood and improved. Because convergence relies on integrating expertise from multiple fields and multiple partners, an open and inclusive culture, a common set of concepts and metrics, and a shared set of institutional and research goals are needed to support this close collaboration. Fortunately, the toolkit to foster convergence can be informed by the base of existing literature on establishing interdisciplin- ary cultures, supporting team-based science, and revising science, tech- nology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and training.

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8 CONVERGENCE It can also be informed by examples drawn from industry, which has a tradition of integrating expertise to tackle complex challenges. The report identifies examples of strategies and practices used by institutions to facilitate convergence endeavors, such as designing edu- cational modules, hiring faculty in transdisciplinary clusters, and estab- lishing new research institutes. Strategies and examples drawn from the committee’s data gathering include • organizing around a common theme, problem, or scientific challenge; • implementing management structures tailored to the challenges to convergence in each institution; • fostering opportunities to interact formally and informally; • changing existing faculty structures and reward systems; • working with and across existing departments; • embedding support for convergence in the promotion and tenure process; • designing facilities and workspaces for convergent research; • designing education and training programs that foster convergence; • establishing partnership arrangements across institutions; and • exploring sources of funding within and beyond government agencies. No single template can be followed in establishing convergence efforts and nurturing their success. Institutions range widely in character- istics such as missions, sizes, and available budgets. The committee was nonetheless able to identify essential cultural and structural elements in successful convergence ecosystems. These elements are as follows: People: Leadership committed to supporting convergence is key, as is the involvement of students, faculty members and staff, department chairs, and deans at multiple institutional levels. A characteristic of individual practitioners that facilitates convergence is the ability to communicate across a breadth of areas while building from strong foundations of deep expertise. Organization: Inclusive governance systems, a goal-oriented vision, effec- tive program management, stable support for core facilities, and flexible or catalytic funding sources are all critical to organizations seeking to build a sustainable convergence ecosystem. Organizations must also be willing to take risks and consequently accept failures or redirections as inevitable hazards at the frontiers of knowledge.

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SUMMARY 9 Culture: The culture needed to support convergence, as with other types of collaborative research, is one that is inclusive, supports mutual respect across disciplines, encourages opportunities to share knowledge, and fosters scientists’ ability to be conversant across disciplines. Diversity of perspectives and expertise is a fundamental aspect of convergence, and interactions across such knowledge cultures may provide important lessons. Ecosystem: The overall ecosystem of convergence involves dynamic interactions with multiple partners within and across institutions, and thus requires strategies to address the technical and logistical partnership agreements required. The committee also identified examples of relatively simple and low cost practices that institutions could consider as first steps in fostering convergence within their organizations (Table S-3). TABLE S-3 Ideas for Fostering Convergence with a Steady State Budget • Encourage social events such as coffee and pizza to foster presentations and discussions of convergent research. • Repurpose journal clubs to address convergence themes. • Foster informal gatherings of faculty with shared interests in convergence problems and topics, which may also contribute to discussions on advancing convergent candidates for faculty positions. • Establish mechanisms for faculty to hold joint appointments across departments and schools. • Develop or identify online resources for convergent classes. • Provide opportunities for experimental courses such as through online tools, collaborative teaching, and teaching “sabbaticals” to develop new courses. • Include examples in undergraduate and introductory science classes that show how physics, chemistry, math, engineering, and biology are put into practice when dealing with current issues. • Implement flexible course requirements for graduate students that enable them to fill gaps in knowledge needed to undertake convergent projects and/or the ability for graduate students to name and shape the area of their degree. • Undertake cluster hires. • Reduce bureaucratic boundaries. • Initiate executive-in-residence programs to bring insights from practitioners in industry. • Institute programs to encourage collaboration at a distance for faculty from different institutions and areas of science.

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10 CONVERGENCE RECOMMENDATIONS The 21st century will be one in which advances made in understand- ing the genetic and molecular basis of life are merged with contributions from the physical sciences, medicine, engineering, and beyond to achieve new revolutions at the frontiers of knowledge. Better understanding and overcoming the challenges of facilitating convergence will be an impor- tant strategy to fully realizing this goal. It is time for a systematic effort to highlight the value of convergence as a mode of research and develop- ment, and to address lingering challenges to its effective practice. This effort is needed in order to more effectively harness the potential of con- vergence to stimulate innovation and provide solutions to societal needs. If the United States wishes to capture the momentum generated by convergence and foster its further development, the committee makes the following recommendations (summarized in Table S-4): 1.  xperts, funding agencies, foundations, and other partners E should identify key problems whose solution requires con- vergence approaches in order to catalyze new research direc- tions and guide research priorities. TABLE S-4 Summary of Recommendations Actors Actions Desired Outcomes National • Foster coordination on • Innovation and economic vision-setting convergence growth body • Build public and • A national infrastructure that professional awareness of can solve emerging problems convergence as a catalyst which transcend traditional of new scientific and boundaries technical knowledge and applications Funder of • Identify problems that • Expanded mechanisms for science and would benefit from funding convergent research technology convergence approaches innovation • Collaborative proposal review • Address barriers to across funding organizations effective convergence, when needed both within and across institutions

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SUMMARY 11 TABLE S-4 Continued Actors Actions Desired Outcomes Academic • Address barriers to • Recruitment practices, cost- leader effective convergence recovery models, and research partnerships, both within support policies that facilitate and across institutions convergence, including catalytic seed funding • Develop policies, practices, and guidelines to support • Promotion and tenure policies and evaluate convergent that recognize the importance and disciplinary research of convergence and have equally unique evaluation criteria for those faculty • Utilize the expertise of economic, social, and • Evidence-based practices behavioral sciences, for facilitating convergence as well as program effectively management and strategic planning fields when • More convergence efforts, planning an initiative partnerships, synergies, and collaborations, particularly at small universities and institutions that serve traditionally underrepresented groups • Develop partnerships, • Evidence-based practices Government synergies and for facilitating convergence laboratory collaborations with effectively colleagues across institutions • New products and services derived from convergent • Facilitate efficient transfer research of technologies derived from convergence research Industry, • Address barriers to • Expanded mechanisms for medical, or effective convergence funding convergent research regulatory partnerships across stakeholder institutions • New products and services derived from convergent • Facilitate efficient transfer research of technologies derived from convergence research

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12 CONVERGENCE 2.  esearch institutions, funding agencies, foundations, and R other partners should address barriers to effective conver- gence as they arise, including expanding mechanisms for funding convergence efforts and supporting collaborative proposal review across funding partners. Institutional pro- grams such as seed funding to catalyze collaborations should be implemented or expanded. 3. nstitutions should review their administrative structures, I faculty recruitment and promotion practices, cost recovery models, and research support policies to identify and reduce roadblocks to the formation of inter- and intrainstitutional partnerships that facilitate convergence. 4.  cademic institutions should develop hiring and promo- A tion policies that include explicit guidelines to recognize the importance of both convergent and disciplinary scholarship, and include criteria to fairly evaluate them. 5.  hose interested in fostering convergence should identify T evidence-based practices that have facilitated convergence by drawing on the expertise of economic, social, and behav- ioral sciences, as well as program management and strate- gic planning. Understanding the barriers and strategies to practicing convergence would improve practical guidance on how institutions can structure and sustain a convergence program. 6. eaders and practitioners who have fostered a conver- L gence culture in their organizations and laboratories should develop partnerships, synergies, and collaborations with their colleagues in other organizations—especially in small universities and institutions that serve traditionally under- represented groups—to help these partnering institutions establish and nurture convergence efforts while furthering the interests of their own. 7.  est practices on the effective transfer of technologies from B research organizations into the private sector should be collected, established, and disseminated. For convergent approaches to enable innovation and stimulate future eco- nomic development, research advances need to be translated into new products and services.

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SUMMARY 13 In order to most effectively achieve these goals, coordination is required to move beyond the patchwork of current efforts. The outcome- focused, boundary-crossing approach embodied by the process of conver- gence has been gaining momentum. Institutions and science practitioners are aware of the increasing push to link basic research to broader goals, even if potential applications of fundamental research are in the uncertain future. Many research questions now require combinations of expertise to solve. University commercialization activities such as patent applications continue to increase. Nevertheless, fostering the process of convergence successfully remains a challenge. As a result, the committee makes a final recommendation: 8.  ational coordination on convergence is needed to support N the infrastructure to solve emerging problems that transcend traditional boundaries. Stakeholders across the ecosystem of convergence—including agencies, foundations, academic and industry leaders, clinicians, and scientific practitioners— should collaborate to build awareness of the role of conver- gence in advancing science and technology and stimulating innovation for the benefit of society. NATIONAL COORDINATION IS NEEDED A national focus on convergence would accomplish several goals. It would catalyze stakeholders to identify emerging topics at the frontiers of science where convergence will be critical to achieving new insights and would engage the vibrant community of institutional leaders and inter- ested researchers, both younger and senior, who are already undertaking convergence. Community input on the investment priorities in research, education, and infrastructure will help maximize the benefits of conver- gence to society. Examples such as the visioning activities undertaken by the Computing Community Consortium and researcher participation in the conception of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neu- rotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative3 could provide useful models. Detailed study on the barriers and strategies to practicing conver- 3  The Computing Community Consortium, which operates through the Computing Re- search Association, identifies research opportunities and directions for the field (see http:// www.cra.org/ccc/). The BRAIN initiative, announced by President Obama in 2013 and ini- tially supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Foundation, Allen Institute for Brain Science, and Salk Institute for Biological Studies is a grand chal- lenge effort to improve understanding of dynamic brain processes. Further information is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/brain-initiative.

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14 CONVERGENCE gence would improve practical guidance on how to structure a conver- gence program at an institution and what policies and agreements are necessary to sustain one. Established convergence institutes of a variety of ages (i.e., those established in the 1990s to those just now being cre- ated) provide a set of case studies for future programs. The histories and practices of those institutes can, in principle, be exploited to understand how to overcome barriers to convergence, how to nurture and sustain convergence, and how to evaluate success of convergence efforts. Yet, the information the committee was able to gather was still largely anecdotal in nature, based on single case studies and/or short time periods. The community interested in fostering convergence needs mechanisms to share lessons learned more widely and to translate those practices across diverse institutional settings. The social sciences and humanities are undertapped resources for convergence efforts. An enhanced and expanded partnership among con- vergence practitioners from multiple fields in the life, physical, and engi- neering sciences, the economic, social, and behavioral science and human- ities research communities, and institutional leaders could be invaluable. The role of the economic, social, and behavioral sciences and humanities in convergence is multifaceted. Areas of convergent research, such as cognitive neuroscience, already benefit from the integration of behavioral, biological, and medical sciences. Moreover, many of the obstacles to effec- tive convergence involve interpersonal interactions, and the translation of advances enabled by convergence into societal benefits involves eco- nomic, social, and behavioral dimensions. A focus on convergence would draw attention to resources available in areas such as the study of inter- disciplinary and transdisciplinary success, the process of team science, and the evaluation of collaborative research. It would enable convergence practitioners, funders, and users to apply these research contributions toward catalyzing convergence in a variety of settings. Within the academic community, convergence efforts could and should draw in a greater number of participants from institutions beyond the large, research-intensive university systems that predominated in the committee’s data-gathering, along with partners such as national labora- tories, clinics, and industry. Coordination on fostering convergence would stimulate the engagement of core partners in the ecosystem of conver- gence from discovery to application and would also provide opportuni- ties for multinational partnerships with centers that have been established elsewhere in the world. Diversity of viewpoints and experiences enables innovation, and the convergence approach provides an opportunity to increase diversity and harness it for the benefit of all societies. Finally, convergence efforts cross boundaries of life, health, physi- cal, and engineering sciences and thus also cross boundaries among

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SUMMARY 15 funding agencies that support biomedical research, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and those that have traditionally supported research in the physical sciences, such as the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Depart- ment of Defense (DOD). National coordination on convergence would provide a platform for funding agencies and foundations to discuss emerging opportunities for collaboration, learn about programs and practices being implemented at other agencies, and serve as a network of resources for each other. The power of such cross-agency efforts at the interface between life and physical sciences is exemplified by the success of the Human Genome Initiative, which was supported collab- oratively by NIH and DOE. National coordination would provide a multiagency and multistake- holder framework of shared goals; leverage the interests and strengths of research and development agencies such as NIH, NSF, DOE, and DOD and regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration; foster networks of convergence cen- ters and practitioners in academic, industrial, and clinical settings; and engage the imagination of future scientists and innovators. Convergence, which brings together knowledge and tools from life sciences, physi- cal sciences, medicine, engineering, and beyond to stimulate innovative research and address compelling technical and societal challenges, has a scope that is diverse and multisectorial. Institutions, funding agencies, and foundations have made positive strides in establishing centers of con- vergence and identifying practices that nurture convergence ecosystems. Nevertheless, practical challenges remain. An emphasis on coordination would enable the United States to better harness the power of conver- gence to yield new knowledge and stimulate transformative innovation.

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