EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

To be leaders in healthcare and to help maintain a vibrant economy, it is critical that the United States lead the world in immunological research and its clinical applications. The rapid application of immunology's fundamental discoveries has allowed them to contribute to the societal and economic well-being of our country over the past 30 years.

The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Panel on International Benchmarking of US Immunology Research examined the leadership status of the United States in immunology. The panel was not able to assess this question in an objective way, but it used the expertise and judgment of its members and the limited information available to conclude that the United States is the world leader in immunology.

US dominance is also evident in the major subfields of immunology –cellular immunology, molecular immunology, immunogenetics, and clinical aspects of immunology. This is not a surprising result, given the level of funding of immunology and its consequent effects on the size of the US enterprise, which writes some 60% of the immunology papers published each year. However, what is of greater interest, given the size of the enterprise, is that in some parts of subfields international preeminence is more evident.

The panel also found that

  • The United States is the world leader in all the major subfields of immunology but is only among the world leaders in some specific sub-subfields.

  • Flexibility to pursue original and innovative research ideas has attracted both domestic and international human capital. Federal, state, and private funding have all contributed to a climate ripe for this innovative research.

  • Industrial interests have fostered many striking breakthroughs in immunology.

  • A scarcity of large-scale clinical trials in immunology can be attributed to shortages in funding and of qualified personnel. In addition, increasing dominance of managed care means that fewer patients are available to academic institutions for clinical trials.

  • Shifting federal and industry priorities, a potential reduction in access to domestic and foreign talent, and the increasing cost of maintaining mouse facilities could curtail US ability to capitalize on leadership opportunities.



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INTERNATIONAL BENCHMARKING OF US IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCH EXECUTIVE SUMMARY To be leaders in healthcare and to help maintain a vibrant economy, it is critical that the United States lead the world in immunological research and its clinical applications. The rapid application of immunology's fundamental discoveries has allowed them to contribute to the societal and economic well-being of our country over the past 30 years. The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Panel on International Benchmarking of US Immunology Research examined the leadership status of the United States in immunology. The panel was not able to assess this question in an objective way, but it used the expertise and judgment of its members and the limited information available to conclude that the United States is the world leader in immunology. US dominance is also evident in the major subfields of immunology –cellular immunology, molecular immunology, immunogenetics, and clinical aspects of immunology. This is not a surprising result, given the level of funding of immunology and its consequent effects on the size of the US enterprise, which writes some 60% of the immunology papers published each year. However, what is of greater interest, given the size of the enterprise, is that in some parts of subfields international preeminence is more evident. The panel also found that The United States is the world leader in all the major subfields of immunology but is only among the world leaders in some specific sub-subfields. Flexibility to pursue original and innovative research ideas has attracted both domestic and international human capital. Federal, state, and private funding have all contributed to a climate ripe for this innovative research. Industrial interests have fostered many striking breakthroughs in immunology. A scarcity of large-scale clinical trials in immunology can be attributed to shortages in funding and of qualified personnel. In addition, increasing dominance of managed care means that fewer patients are available to academic institutions for clinical trials. Shifting federal and industry priorities, a potential reduction in access to domestic and foreign talent, and the increasing cost of maintaining mouse facilities could curtail US ability to capitalize on leadership opportunities.

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