4

Fostering Convergence in
Organizations:
Challenges and Strategies

Translating the “why” of undertaking convergence into the practical “how” of fostering it in individual institutional settings is a key question for the academic leaders and administrators whose responsibility this task will be. Institutions range widely in their missions, sizes, available budgets, and other characteristics with the result that no single template can be followed. The report draws largely, although not exclusively, from examples within academic institutions. It is important to recognize that national laboratories, nonprofit research institutes, industry, and other settings that contain experts from multiple disciplines in proximity to one another with access to facilities and instrumentation, and that contribute to the translation and implementation of research advances, are also relevant partners and are locations in which convergence can effectively occur.

This chapter explores areas where challenges are frequently encountered, identifies examples of strategies that have been used by different types of institutions and with different budget implications, and begins to articulate a set of cultural and structural characteristics linked to successful convergence programs. Many challenges encountered by convergence programs and strategies to address the barriers that arise echo those reported for facilitating interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, or team science efforts more generally. Table 4-1 provides highlights of common challenge areas and indicates how the concepts apply to convergence. The subsequent sections of the chapter explore these and other areas further.



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4 Fostering Convergence in Organizations: Challenges and Strategies T ranslating the “why” of undertaking convergence into the practi- cal “how” of fostering it in individual institutional settings is a key question for the academic leaders and administrators whose responsibility this task will be. Institutions range widely in their missions, sizes, available budgets, and other characteristics with the result that no single template can be followed. The report draws largely, although not exclusively, from examples within academic institutions. It is important to recognize that national laboratories, nonprofit research institutes, indus- try, and other settings that contain experts from multiple disciplines in proximity to one another with access to facilities and instrumentation, and that contribute to the translation and implementation of research advances, are also relevant partners and are locations in which conver- gence can effectively occur. This chapter explores areas where challenges are frequently encoun- tered, identifies examples of strategies that have been used by different types of institutions and with different budget implications, and begins to articulate a set of cultural and structural characteristics linked to suc- cessful convergence programs. Many challenges encountered by con- vergence programs and strategies to address the barriers that arise echo those reported for facilitating interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, or team science efforts more generally. Table 4-1 provides highlights of common challenge areas and indicates how the concepts apply to convergence. The subsequent sections of the chapter explore these and other areas further. 59

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60 CONVERGENCE TABLE 4-1  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).

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RESEARCH AREAS WITH BROAD SCOPE 61 TABLE 4-1 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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62 CONVERGENCE TABLE 4-1 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). 4.1  CONVERGENCE IS FACILITATED BY DEPTH AND BREADTH OF EXPERTISE The focus of the committee’s discussions and data-gathering was on fostering convergence in organizations, particularly in ways that intercon- nect and integrate the expertise of multiple investigators. Before turning to examples of these challenges and strategies, it is important to emphasize the characteristics of individual practitioners that facilitate convergence. Convergence builds on a base of strong disciplinary research but demands that individuals be versed in multiple disciplines—for scientists to be “multilingual” citizens—to most effectively integrate a diversity of approaches to problem solving. The classic metaphor of T-shaped persons (Guest 1991)—those with an ability to collaborate across a broad set of disciplines, but who maintain a depth of expertise in a single field—is being extended to include π-shaped or comb-shaped skill sets that are

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 63 Breadth Breadth Depth of Expertise Depth of Expertise Depth of Expertise Depth of Expertise FIGURE 4-1  T and comb shaped individuals combine depth of expertise in spe- cific areas with breadth to work across fields. SOURCE: Committee on Key Challenge Areas for Convergence and Health. invaluable for doing science in the 21st century (Figure 4-1). This does not imply that a scientist must obtain advanced degrees in multiple fields or, conversely, will be limited to being a “jack of all trades, master of none.” A study of innovation at 3M explored roles within the company played by individuals exhibiting technical depth, breadth, or both qualities (Boh et al. 2014). The authors reported that individuals who functioned as suc- cessful system integrators developed deep expertise in core domains and extended their expertise over time as they understood how their domains interacted with other disciplines and they applied their knowledge to new challenges. “Thus, individuals learn to recombine existing components in novel ways while simultaneously building up new connections and new cognitive nodes of knowledge” (Boh et al. 2014, p. 356). Inventors in the company who had deep expertise were associated with more citations and patents, but inventors with both breadth and depth were associated with bringing value to the company by converting inventions into prod- ucts. This type of multilingual fluency, developed over time, is at the heart of convergence. Convergent research can also emerge from within individual labora- tories and research groups, not only by bridging among them as part of larger-scale convergence initiatives. A research group may itself include members with a diversity of expertise and be tackling challenges at the boundaries of multiple fields. A common way in which a principal inves- tigator (PI) brings new perspectives to his or her laboratory is by hiring a postdoctoral fellow or staff scientist who brings the skills to address an interesting new dimension of a research problem. Another tactic is by taking on a graduate student who brings to the program a different background. These are important strategies for fostering convergence. The individual backgrounds of the PI and research team members may also be cross-disciplinary in nature based on the combination of diverse

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64 CONVERGENCE educational and training experiences each has received. Over time, as new unified knowledge domains are created from the convergence of existing ones, individual persons and research groups with converged expertise will become the norm. An example is the discipline of molecular biology, which originated from cell biology and biochemistry but is now a unified discipline practiced by numerous individuals and research groups. 4.2  DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES SUPPORT INNOVATION A central hypothesis of convergence is that diverse teams are able to generate innovative solutions to complex problems. Indeed, there is evidence that teams composed of individuals with different perspectives on problem solving will outperform groups that are more homogeneous in their approaches (Hong and Page 2004; Horowitz and Horowitz 2007). There is also evidence for increased creativity in more diverse teams (Stahl et al. 2010). Consequently, an environment where opinions—especially dissenting opinions—are openly expressed, where diversity is valued, and opposing ideas are respectfully communicated may be vital to the success of a convergence program. Such environments enable groups to think beyond embedded paradigms and collaborate to uncover creative solutions to difficult problems. Diversity takes multiple forms, and a distinction can be made between diversity in problem-solving approaches (functional diversity) and diver- sity in demographic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds (identity diversity). While both types are important for a successful future ecosystem of sci- ence and innovation, the latter appears to have a complex relationship with team performance. While identity diversity can lead to challenges in social integration and communication within a team, a group’s perspec- tive on diversity can mitigate and may even reverse these effects, yielding greater creativity and satisfaction (Stahl et al. 2010; Ely and Thomas 2001). As Section 3.2 discussed, functioning in an environment with diverse views and perspectives can be uncomfortable. Therefore, adopting inclu- sive attitudes toward diversity and using management strategies to foster diversity are essential for maximizing the return on investment of con- vergence efforts. 4.3  CONVERGENCE REQUIRES A CULTURE AND SUPPORTING STRUCTURES Developing an open, inclusive culture that values diversity, is flex- ible in the way it approaches problems, and has a common language is critical for success in any research effort that involves contributions from multiple disciplines. This process takes time. As one participant in the

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 65 committee’s data-gathering workshop noted, “We’re five years into this initiative and I would argue that it will take another five years to actually get the kind of common language we need” (Anna Barker, Workshop on Key Challenges in the Implementation of Convergence, September 16-17, 2013, Washington, DC). Leaders at multiple levels of an institution play significant roles in this process and in the ultimate success of convergence programs. A per- ceived focus on short-term financial considerations and administrative resistance to working through barriers to long-term convergent efforts is one obstacle identified during the committee’s data gathering. Leaders who are committed to breaking out of academic divisions, willing to undertake the hard work of bringing people from different disciplines and partner organizations together, and supportive of policies that encourage convergent research are necessary. Because convergence takes different forms at different institutions, there is an opportunity to build from each institution’s own strengths regarding personnel and leadership capacity at multiple levels. University presidents cannot make convergence hap- pen by directive, just as an engaged group of faculty members cannot create a new transdisciplinary initiative without support from university leadership. Who serves as the head of a convergence initiative also takes differ- ent forms in different places. At the Wyss Institute, for example, Donald Ingber is a core faculty member and continues to conduct active research, an attribute that he reports helps gain the respect of participating scien- tists. At QB3, which connects 220 laboratories across three university cam- puses, Regis Kelly has closed his own faculty laboratory to devote himself full time to the process of bridging academic domains and indicates that he could use more team members to contribute to this effort. And at the University of Michigan North Campus Research Complex, the university selected David Canter, a former senior vice president of global research and development at Pfizer, rather than a distinguished faculty member, to serve as the director. A strong governance system is characteristic of the convergence pro- grams the committee examined and it is important to be deliberate about developing governance for these complex efforts. At MIT, for example, the committee learned that members of convergence-focused institutes shared responsibility for deciding who joined the institution, how fund- ing was secured, and how students and postdoctoral fellows were men- tored (Sharp 2013). Convergence programs can be large undertakings and drawing on professional or nonacademic program management expertise can also play a useful role (Canter 2013; Ingber 2013). In addition to com- mitted leadership and faculty, creating ample opportunities for individu- als to share ideas, develop an understanding of disciplinary differences,

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66 CONVERGENCE and foster appreciation of the intellectual and technical contributions that different fields bring to bear on a problem is an essential component highlighted by many participants. 4.3.1  Strategy: Organizing Around a Common Theme, Problem, or Scientific Challenge One mechanism institutions have employed to foster a shared sense of community and facilitate convergence is to organize an institute’s or center’s mission around core scientific problems that require a convergent approach to address. A few examples include the following: • Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago: The Institute, established in 2011, focuses on understanding matter at a molecular level and using chemical, biological, mechanical, optical, and elec- trical building blocks to create functional systems that can address global issues. Its conducts research around current themes, which include Immuno-Engineering and Cancer, Molecular Engineering of Water Resources, and Quantum Information and Technology (Uni- versity of Chicago 2014). • The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Uni- versity: The Wyss Institute, launched in 2009, is designed to foster innovation and technology translation by leveraging biological design principles to develop new innovations in engineering that address challenges in health care, sustainability, and other areas. Projects are organized around six enabling platform technologies: adaptive material technologies, anticipatory medical and cellular devices, bioinspired robotics, synthetic biology, biomimetic micro- systems, and programmable nanomaterials (Ingber 2013). • Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute: The Janelia Farm Research Campus, which opened in 2006, represents an example in which a convergent research culture was created from the ground up outside the confines of an existing university structure. The campus is focused around two areas: identifying the basic principles by which nervous systems store and process infor- mation and developing new optical imaging technologies capable of imaging live systems at high temporal and spatial resolution (Rubin 2013).

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 67 4.3.2  Strategy: Implementing Management Structures Tailored to the Challenges of Convergence in Each Institution Management factors have been shown to affect the success of research centers that bring together expertise across disciplines and organizations (Boardman and Ponomariov 2014). Convergence programs often involve faculty members and students from multiple fields, technical staff oper- ating core facilities, program and business development managers, end- user partners like clinicians, and others with diverse skills and career tra- jectories. Different convergence initiatives employ different management structures to support their activities, based on their own organizational systems and goals. Some programs function as regular units of a parent university, while others operate as their own 501(c)(3) organizations. One descriptive example, drawn from the workshop, is below. • Wyss Institute, Harvard University: The Institute is a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization that is owned by Harvard University but is governed by its own board of directors. The board is chaired by the Harvard provost and includes the deans of engineering and medicine, faculty representatives from the school of arts and sci- ences, the dean of engineering at Boston University, the CEOs of partner hospitals, industry representatives, and the Institute donor and his selected representatives. It includes an operating committee that makes resource allocation decisions, composed of the faculty who lead the Institute’s six technology platform areas. It has also developed an Advance Technology Team of experts with industrial experience, who form a partnership with Institute faculty and help sustain institutional memory as products move through the stages of research and product development. Finally, the Institute includes an administrative management team with business development and startup experience. This structure reportedly works for Wyss as it leverages expertise from faculty who want their work to have impact, but who want to focus on the research side, and those with complementary business and manufacturing expertise. Wyss was not initially a separate 501(c) (3) organization—this change was driven by a need for greater independence from existing university constraints on issues such as hiring and salaries and became a condition for further funding from the primary donor (Ingber 2013).

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68 CONVERGENCE 4.3.3  Strategy: Fostering Opportunities to Interact Formally and Informally Many methods can be used encourage spontaneous conversation and build connections among students and investigators across areas of exper- tise. Among the institutions and programs explored by the committee, communal activities used to break down interpersonal barriers included seminars, workshops, retreats, and parties. Several other possibilities are discussed in Section 4.5 on building design. Because faculty members are often busy with the demands of research, teaching, fundraising, and ser- vice commitments, a significant amount of collaboration appears to result from the connections students and postdoctoral researchers make among themselves that identify shared tools to address research challenges. As suggested below, students and younger researchers may be a particularly valuable source of ideas and energy for these events. It is worth noting that many of these types of activities can be implemented in a budget- conscious fashion: • Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers can be empow- ered to share their knowledge with each other in peer-to-peer learning environments. At the MIT Koch Center, the Engineering Genius Bar serves as a place where biologists interact with and learn about tools and thought processes used by their peer engi- neers. The Koch Institute similarly has a “Doctor Is In” program that draws on the expertise of visiting physicians from Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, or Massachusetts General Hospital (Jacks 2013; Sharp 2013). • The Arizona State University Ignite program (Ignite @ ASU) is a student organization that organizes events “to gather, share ideas, connect with others and create change. It features rapid-fire 5 minute presentations that brings ASU students, faculty, staff and community members together to build more connected, vibrant communities” (ASU 2012; Barker 2013). • Yale University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, are involved in joint research activities and have made efforts to incentivize student collaboration and innovation. A recent Yale– Weizmann Institute ‘encounter’ awarded small grants (on the order of $10,000) to self-assembled teams of students who pro- posed interdisciplinary, trans-institutional projects. The use of seed funding to catalyze convergent activities is discussed further in Section 4.8.

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 69 4.4  CONVERGENCE INTERSECTS WITH FACULTY STRUCTURES AND REWARD SYSTEMS Many convergence initiatives are housed within universities and include faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and students as core partici- pants. The configuration of academic institutions into subject-area depart- ments is the bedrock of the current U.S. research infrastructure and tra- ditional academic reward systems are based in disciplines. As a result, an institution seeking to foster convergence and implement structures to support it must consider what implications this goal will have for its current system. As Chapter 3 indicated, there are cultural similarities and differences among life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering that may influence the creation of such interconnections. Different institutions have addressed this challenge in different ways, but there are examples that can be considered by an institution whether it chooses to radically reevaluate its existing department structure or to maintain that structure and to establish policies that provide bridges across it. 4.4.1  Strategy: Radical Reorganization A few organizations that support convergent research have under- taken radical reorganizations of department-based university systems or have been established outside traditional academic structures: • Arizona State University (ASU) implemented significant changes to its organizational structure in order to embed the concept of convergence as a foundational element. Within 2 years of arriv- ing at ASU, president Michael Crow had dissolved almost all of the existing academic departments and in their place created 23 new schools and initiatives such as the Beyond, Biodesign, and Complex Adaptive Systems Institutes. The goal of this effort was to create a new ecosystem to foster knowledge building and use- inspired research that was very different than a department-based structure (Barker 2013). • Janelia Farm Research Campus, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), involved constructing an entirely new institution for convergent science. The approach did not require changing an existing culture but rather creating a new one with no departmental affiliations or tenure. Janelia Farm scientists do not seek external funding and are required to be on-site 75 per- cent of the time so that they are available for collaboration. Jane- lia’s approach attracts individuals who are willing to take a risk for a potentially high payoff from working in a transdisciplinary

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82 CONVERGENCE To accomplish these goals, learning should be goal-directed, excit- ing, and personal. A problem-solving approach pushes the evolution of curricula and keeps courses fresh, a benefit for both students and faculty. Problem-solving approaches can also be an effective way to help students learn how to work in teams. An important consideration when using this type of team-based, problem-solving strategy is to form student teams that are diverse in terms of educational and personal background, to provide practice opportunities to collaborate in such environments and because research has shown that teams that include a diverse mix of indi- viduals may be more likely to succeed. One aspect of the balancing act of curriculum development necessary to support convergence is to take into account how much physics, math, statistics, or engineering a biologist needs to learn in formal class settings versus through informal contacts and through training that occurs as a member of a research effort involving colleagues from multiple disci- plines. The same is true for those starting from areas of physical sciences and engineering who need to understand biological concepts. Colleges and universities have made efforts to revise undergraduate education programs to tackle some of these challenges, particularly the issue of how better to integrate mathematics and quantitative science into biology. Two examples drawn from the workshop are below. Whatever approach is used, achieving support for new curricula across the entire institution is critical in order for it to be embraced and sustained. • The NEXUS Physics course at the University of Maryland arose from an effort to make connections between disciplines more explicit, particularly the relationship of physical principals to understanding biological systems. The course underwent several rounds of development that highlight the difficulty of designing an integrated course. Initially, biologists and biophysicists pro- posed a curriculum but the physics department objected based on information from the pedagogical literature on effective physics teaching. Gathering a large group of biologists, physicists, and university administrators failed to reach consensus on course content. The most successful strategy was to use a small core group of biologists, physicists, and one university administrator, to focus on cross-cutting topics, to draw in additional faculty per- spectives as needed, and to make content available using a wiki. Although a challenge to develop, having a community of faculty invested in the outcome may contribute to course sustainability (Thompson 2013). • Yale University similarly reimagined its introductory physics course for life scientists using examples that emphasized the role

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 83 of physical and mathematical concepts in understanding biology, such as force generation by actin polymerization and genetic feedback loops. Student feedback on the new course has been positive, although institutional challenges encountered in devel- oping it included the differing teaching loads of the physics and biology departments, the challenges of adding in a parallel labo- ratory course, and the issue of adoption by other faculty members and thus course sustainability (Mochrie 2013). Liberal arts colleges are well known for the numbers of graduates who pursue STEM careers and their general model of education includes science as one dimension of a multidisciplinary curriculum that can align well with the spirit of convergence. Hope College (Michigan), for exam- ple, introduces students to interdisciplinary thinking and learning early in their college careers through the use of case studies in all introductory science courses. These cases “focus on compelling, real-world problems, incorporate activities grounded in research on learning, and use a data- rich, research-like approach that develops students’ ability to think about problems quantitatively and from different disciplinary perspectives by drawing their attention explicitly to questions of the sources and nature of scientific knowledge” (Hope College 2013). Case studies are used in both laboratory courses as well as in lectures. Components of a new curriculum can also be designed as modules that can be added and removed with experience and that could be tested during university winter study periods, summer courses, or through seminars. This may be one strategy for testing out-of-the-box approaches to interdisciplinary training, with the expectation that some approaches will fail. A possible model for such modules is the type of specialized short courses taught at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory or Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and by universities. In addition to course modules that draw on real problems, challenges such as the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in synthetic biol- ogy can also serve as hooks to promote interest in convergence among students at an early stage of their training. In graduate student training programs, boot camps, well-crafted jour- nal clubs, seminars, and advanced-level undergraduate gap courses can be useful strategies for enabling students to round out their backgrounds in areas they need to foster convergence. However, failure to receive credit for taking undergraduate courses can create a barrier as graduate students try to complete their coursework and research requirements. To accom- modate the need to fill educational gaps, curricular requirements should be flexible within categories. One example of a certificate program that provides grounding in convergent science for graduate students while

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84 CONVERGENCE maintaining disciplinary depth is the Interdisciplinary Quantitative (IQ) Biology Program, established in 2011 at the University of Colorado Bio- Frontiers Institute. Students in the program take a boot camp on computer science, biochemistry, biology, and mathematics as well as a first-year curriculum that integrates quantitative and biological fields before choos- ing their Ph.D. degree program. The program has also established for- mal memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with participating academic departments to ensure that the dedicated IQ curriculum does not impede students’ timely degree completion (Stith 2013).3 For postdoctoral fellows and faculty, short courses and workshops can be tools to foster interdisciplinary training and fill knowledge gaps. So, too, can opportunities such as the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards at the Scientific Interface4 or the 2-year Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships for early-career scientists. Faculty and postdoctoral fellows can also get involved in co-teaching courses as a strategy to start to learn other disciplines. Summer cross-training opportunities and sabbaticals, as well as seminar-like courses where faculty teach each other, can be other valuable options. To address additional educational issues related to convergence, one low-cost option is to develop online resources for convergent classes and take advantage of online courses and course modules that a variety of institutions are developing and making available free of charge. Web- based courses can be a tool for filling knowledge gaps, and more research is needed to understand how to make use of them most effectively in com- bination with person-to-person interactions. Informal learning activities, such as social events and journal clubs, can also be repurposed to address convergence themes. 4.7  CONVERGENCE RELIES ON EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENTS Forming effective partnerships is a critical dimension of fostering con- vergence. As discussed throughout the chapter, many of the connections that underpin convergent activities bridge individual faculty members and academic departments. An additional challenge is posed when par- 3  Federal programs supporting graduate training across disciplinary boundaries included the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), which is currently ending and being replaced with an NSF Research Traineeship program. The IGERT program had a broad mandate across STEM fields and it remains unclear how this may evolve under the new program. 4  These awards “are targeted toward researchers whose doctoral training is in one of the physical, chemical or computational sciences and who intend to pursue academic research doing work that addresses biological questions” (Burroughs Wellcome Fund 2014).

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 85 ticipating investigators and departments cross different schools within an academic institution. The school of arts and science, school of engineer- ing, and school of medicine, for example, may have different policies that govern indirect cost recovery, different expectations for faculty teaching and research loads and salary coverage, or different intellectual property (IP) experiences. Negotiating the numerous MOUs that may be required is time intensive, reaffirming the critical need for committed university leadership. • University of Michigan North Campus Research Complex: In 2008, the University of Michigan purchased Pfizer’s former research facility, encompassing 2.2 million square feet of laboratory and administrative space in 28 connected buildings. The university, the medical school, and the university hospital provided money for the purchase and the medical school committed through its department chairs and dean that it would fund the North Cam- pus Research Complex for 10 years with a tax on all incom- ing grants and income. This money serves as a source of funds for operations and capital improvements so that the campus is not dependent directly on philanthropic funding. However, the medical school had a different model of charging overhead to its faculty that includes capturing depreciation at a significant level as a means of building a fund for new facilities. In contrast, the school of engineering levied no such depreciation charge. This potential roadblock was solved when the university provost created a pool of money to cover the depreciation charge for all nonmedical school faculty. Once the North Campus was created, one of the newly-formed institutes was the Biointerfaces Insti- tute, which explores convergence among nanotechnology, cell and tissue engineering, microfluidics and sensors, and biomateri- als and drug delivery. Getting this institute established, however, involved developing an MOU for every single faculty, with every different administrator, in every different department (Canter 2013). Convergence efforts may also involve partnerships across different universities, as a means to create teams with complementary expertise that may be lacking at any one institution and to enlarge the arena in which researchers can work cooperatively. In the University of Califor- nia system, the QB3 initiative was established by the State of California to foster convergence between the biological and physical sciences at the universities of Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Berkeley. One of the strengths of the QB3 collaboration is that the capacities of the three institu-

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86 CONVERGENCE tions are complementary: Santa Cruz and Berkeley do not have a medical school, while San Francisco does not have an engineering or computer science department. Of the $100 million initially allocated for QB3, one- third went to build a new building on each of the three campuses. How- ever, operating funds dropped almost immediately as a result of state finances. Today, QB3 raises $5 million annually but the University of California chancellors take the majority of those funds, pointing out the potential conflict between those organizing a convergence institute and those whose interests may lie in maintaining separate domains. In a time of limited resources, the competition for funds for both disciplinary and convergent research from development, philanthropy, industry, and gov- ernment is real and must be accounted for when planning an initiative that spans departments and institutions (Kelly 2013). Because convergence extends beyond basic science discovery to trans- lational application, bringing clinical, national laboratory, and industry partners into convergent research efforts can provide valuable connec- tions and potentially increase the impact of research. The Ragon Insti- tute, established in 2009 to advance immunology research and vaccine development for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, brings together the clinical expertise of Massachusetts General Hospital with Harvard and MIT. The Institute for Molecular Engineering, established in 2010 as a partnership between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, exemplifies a unique relationship in which core faculty hold dual appoint- ments with the university and the national laboratory. The Institute also maintains partnerships with the University of Chicago’s Institute for Translational Medicine and the Booth School of Business, which serves as a resource to promote the development of critical entrepreneurship skills (University of Chicago 2014). Finally, industry can be encouraged to join convergence partnerships not only through agreements regarding intellectual property but also by providing access to faculty, ideas, and, perhaps most importantly, students. As the committee heard repeatedly, developing a well-thought-out MOU that addresses as many contingencies as possible is an important but time-consuming aspect of the process. For the Ragon Institute, for example, structural and financial details about the governance board, institutional operations board, scientific steering committee, intellectual property issues and grant overhead, and mechanisms for inter-institu- tional collaborations all needed to be spelled out in the MOU (Walker 2013). Collecting and disseminating best practices and model agreements for such MOUs would be useful strategy to enable convergence leaders and practitioners to learn from the experiences of others in the community.

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 87 4.8  SUSTAINABLE FUNDING IS NECESSARY FOR CONVERGENCE EFFORTS Funding remains a key concern for both individual researchers and institutional leaders engaged in convergence. Federal and nonprofit grant funding is a key source of support for specific convergent research proj- ects, although institutions may catalyze projects through seed funding strategies (see Box 4-3) or may need to find ways to help keep convergent teams together during times when traditional sources of grant funding fall short. Core facilities in life, physical, engineering, and medical sci- ences needed for convergent research are also expensive and may require dedicated operational staff to maintain these resources and train users. Stable funding for such core facilities can be a particular challenge across the sciences. For convergent research projects, grant submission and review pro- cesses need to fairly account for and evaluate submissions that extend beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. The creation by funding agencies of transdisciplinary peer-review mechanisms is a positive devel- opment that helps to put convergent research on the same footing as more traditional individual investigator-driven research and to facilitate the engagement of researchers in both types of projects. Policy changes at NIH and NSF that allow multiple principal investigators on a grant reflect the kind of cultural change that has been helpful. To further address potential grant issues, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is creating a BOX 4-3 Seed Funding for Convergence Projects A crucial role for institutional funding can be in providing seed funds for risky, boundary-pushing convergence projects. As an example of what might be done within an institution to address this challenge, Stanford’s Bio-X includes an inter- disciplinary initiatives program that provides grants for high-risk research with the potential to transform knowledge. Through an open, university wide competition, the seed grant program provides 20 to 25 awards of about $75,000 a year for 2 years that are designed to be catalytic. Toward that end, the $15 million in seed grants made over the first five rounds of the program have generated over $170 million in follow-on funding (Shatz 2013). The University of Michigan has also in- stituted a 2-year pilot seed funding program called MCubed. Under the program, each faculty member receives a “token” worth $20,000 but must partner with two other faculty members in order to redeem their tokens for $60,000 of funds and get going on their project idea (Canter 2013).

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88 CONVERGENCE funding mechanism that enables staff scientists to apply for their own grants rather than as derivatives of a principal investigator’s grant. The hope is that this mechanism will improve support for core facilities and infrastructure needed to sustain convergent research activities (D. Singer 2013). At NSF, the Research at the Interface of the Biological, Mathemati- cal, and Physical Sciences (BioMaPS) program aims to foster interactions among research groups in these fields and in engineering to improve understanding of biological systems and to apply that knowledge to areas outside of biomedicine. Other programs at NSF, such as Integrated Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE), also represent an effort to support boundary-crossing research and enable program officers rather than peer-review committees to make funding decisions (Roskoski 2013). In an effort to reduce the chances that an inno- vative idea would be quashed by reviewers without the right balance of expertise, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program introduced the concept of a rebuttal phase to its proposal process (Majumdar 2013). It is important to recognize that discipline-based reviewers of grant proposals draw on the depth of their specialized knowledge to make informed judgments about the future prospects of various lines of research. The review process for research proposals at the interfaces of multiple areas of knowledge, such as those arising from convergence, will require the institution of equivalent proce- dures to critically evaluate the questions and methods proposed. Another valuable mechanism to support convergence efforts is pro- vided by funding initiatives that support centers. Centers can play an important role in convergence and can act as nucleating agents for a field because without the type of infrastructure that centers build and main- tain, it can be hard for a culture of convergence to occur on a sustainable basis. Centers can take different forms, whether as a specific building, a set of core facilities at an institution, or as a funding model. The NIH and NSF both fund relevant center programs, including the Centers in Systems Biology (NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences), Centers for Physical Sciences in Oncology (NIH/NCI), or Science and Technology Centers: Integrative Partnerships (NSF). Foundations are another means of obtaining funding in combination with funds from federal agencies and home institutions (see Box 4-4), although the resources of foundations are much smaller than those of the federal government. For most philanthropic funders, the approach is to be nimble and flexible, and to identify gaps where even a small amount of

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 89 BOX 4-4 Convergence Centers Supported by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Raymond and Beverly Sackler have long sought to invest their philanthropic efforts in the support of basic and applied sciences. Their Foundation, with the guidance and counsel of numerous scientific leaders, has focused on the support of emerging new fields and in the scientists working at those frontiers. The sequencing of the human genome, advances in regenerative engineering and genetic engineering, and broad advances in the fields of physics, chemistry, and biology have created a myriad of transdisciplinary scientific investigations. The Foundation began over a decade ago to endow programs structured and organized to facilitate scientific investigations now captured under the term “convergence.” To date 12 programs have been funded by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation with convergence as the guiding principle. These programs, at major academic medical centers and universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel, all enlist cutting-edge leadership and programmatic components. The Foundation felt that its philanthropic support could best be leveraged by allowing flexibility and creativity, and not by imposing a preconceived structure. In effect, each program is a pilot project seeking ways to promote convergence science. An important goal is in supporting a new generation of scientists by creating an optimal research and educational environment that best promotes convergence research. An example of a Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center is one based at the University of Connecticut under the direction of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin. The Center harnesses the expertise of clinicians, materials scientists, cell and molecular biolo- gists, and engineers with the goal of exploring new approaches toward regenerat- ing tissues. The convergence approach utilized by the Center has helped develop such areas as bioreactor-based musculoskeletal regeneration, and novel uses of nanotechnology to manipulate stem cell response. The Center is a cross-university facility and serves to mentor a broad variety of transdisciplinary scientists. money can prove valuable.5 In many instances, foundations also require a financial commitment from the hosting institution. Many institutions are looking beyond funding agencies and founda- tions to ensure sustainability of convergence efforts. In addition to endow- ments, individual donors, venture philanthropy, taxpayer initiatives such as the stem cell bond in California and the Arizona research-targeted sales 5  In 2013, seven foundations announced the formation of a coalition to provide increased funding for basic science research in order to supplement the pivotal support for such research provided by the federal government. The foundations in the coalition include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Simons Founda- tion, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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90 CONVERGENCE tax increase, new investment vehicles,6 and precompetitive partnerships with industry can be sources of long-term funding for convergent research efforts, as well as sources of ideas about mission-critical problems that can attract additional funding sources. The Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard, for example, was established though a significant philanthropic donation. However, tapping into these funding opportunities requires that investigators and institute heads understand the needs of diverse funders and how to address those needs. In an era in which government funding is limited, creating the types of partnerships discussed in Section 4.7 may also help leverage federal or state grants to secure additional support from philanthropic or private-sector sources. 4.9  THE CONVERGENCE ECOSYSTEM INCLUDES CORE ELEMENTS Many research institutions are engaged in creating an environment that promotes the convergence of life sciences, physical sciences, medi- cine, engineering, and beyond. Strategies such as organizing space around compelling research themes, providing seed funding to generate prelimi- nary results in high-risk/high-return areas, reforming undergraduate and graduate education, investing in new types of shared and core facilities, recruiting people from industry with expertise in product management and product development, partnering with academic, clinical, and indus- try collaborators, and exploring multiple sources of funding all contribute to these efforts to nurture an effective convergence ecosystem. Despite differences in size, mission, and organizational structure, the commit- tee identified several common characteristics of successful convergence efforts: • Committed leaders who are able to communicate a vision, will- ing to work through potentially contentious and time-consuming issues such as cost sharing, intellectual property ownership, and MOU creation, willing to undertake efforts to raise sustainable funds from multiple sources, and willing to take personal and institutional risks • Engaged participants at multiple levels who are willing to move beyond intellectual comfort zones, map the scientific landscape, and identify important new challenges to tackle • A flexible, diverse, and supportive culture 6  For example, the concept of a “megafund” has been proposed as a potential investment mechanism to support early-stage cancer drug development (Fernandez et al. 2012).

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FOSTERING CONVERGENCE IN ORGANIZATIONS 91 • An entrepreneurial spirit in looking for new opportunities at the boundaries and intersections of disciplines that spans basic dis- covery and translational application • Partnerships among diverse faculty, among units and schools within a university, and with collaborators such as national labo- ratories and industry • Concrete systems for addressing issues such as tenure expec- tations (for tenure-granting academic organizations) or career tracks and reward structures outside of a tenure framework Many of the convergence centers of which the committee is aware benefitted significantly from large donors or public taxpayer commit- ments. Based on many of the examples provided in the report, there may be a concern that only the largest and wealthiest institutions can afford to engage in convergence. But there is undertapped potential in expanding the concept of convergence and the awareness of its benefits to a wider range of institutions—small and large, public and private. As a first step, examples of modest options that could be considered to enable diverse institutions to start to foster convergence are provided in Table 4-2. TABLE 4-2 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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92 CONVERGENCE At the end of the day, modest options alone may not be sufficient to fully implement and sustain a culture of convergence within an institu- tion. Incentives are needed to get and keep people engaged across all levels. These may include funds for research, access to core facilities and to the expertise of others, procedures that reduce or streamline admin- istrative barriers, or the carrot of economic innovation. Generating and sustaining the levels of visibility and enthusiasm needed across the com- munity will require the engagement of key champions within multiple academic institutions, federal agencies, and other partners as well as regular opportunities for stakeholders to share their challenges and map out what is needed to achieve new solutions.