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The Li e ~ . ~1` 11 Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs The World of Biological Research Requirements for the Future Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy National Academy of Sciences NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Washington, D.C. 1970
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Copyright ~ by Cations Academy of Sciences, except as follows: Biology and the Future of man/' from B/~/~ ~d laze F~e a/ Add. Copyright ~ 1970 by Oxford University Press Inc. No part of 1h~ book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, Reboot permission in Urging from the publisher, except for the purpose of o~cia1 use by the United States Government. ISLE 0-309-01770-X Available from Priming slid F~lkhing Own Nshonal Academy of Sciences 2 101 Consthudon Washington, D.C. 20418 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 71-606918 Printed in the United Stales of America
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September 9, 1970 Dear Dr. Handler: I take special pleasure in transmitting this report of the Committee on Research in the Life Sciences, since that committee undertook the study reported here under your chairmanship, prior to your election as President of the Academy. On behalf of the Committee on Science and Public Policy, I should like to express our profound appreciation for the prodigious work invested by you and your committee and its panels in the preparation of this report, as well as in the preparation of the book Biology and the Future of Man, recently published by the Oxford University Press. The Committee on Science and Public Policy recognizes that many of the problems of support now facing the life sciences and described in the fol- lowing report are common to all the natural and social sciences at the pres- ent time. In large part, our present difficulties stem from the fact that in a period of increasingly tight budgets, the research activities of each of the mission-oriented agencies are being restricted by their increasingly severe operational responsibilities. Thus, in the health field, as the report so graphically indicates, the $2 billion being spent on research is gradually being displaced by the $60 billion being spent on health care, even though in fact the savings in research expenditures are insufficient to make signifi- cant improvement in the delivery or quality of health care, and will prob- ably result in increased costs of health care and unwise investments in the future. Savings in basic research are not resulting in any real transfer of resources to applications or to health care, but on the contrary are resulting in idle resources and unused highly trained talent. The report is a lively and fascinating description of the accomplishments and future potential of the life sciences. It documents vividly the degree to which past progress and future developments in the control and prevention of disease are dependent on basic knowledge of life processes. There are few other areas of science in which the link between basic science and applications is closer. The committee is to be congratulated also on the . . .
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excellent statistical characterization of the life science research enterprise. This pioneering effort will be a fruitful data base for future policy studies not only in the life sciences but also, by extrapolation, in other areas of science as well. The report is particularly valuable in documenting the in- terdependence of the various parts of the life sciences, and the strong links between the life sciences and the physical sciences, particularly in the use of physical instrumentation and in the pervasiveness of biochemical concepts and techniques throughout all areas of research in the life sciences, even at the levels of greater complexity such as population biology and ecology. This report is commended to all those concerned with the future of American science, education, medicine, agriculture, and indeed of the bio- sphere. Sincerely yours, HARVEY BROOKS, Chairman Committee on Science and Public Policy 1V
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COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH IN THE LIFE SCIENCES *PHILIP HANDLER, National Academy of Sciences, Chairman NYLE C. BRADY, Cornell University JAMES F. CROW, University of Wisconsin, Madison HORACE DAVENPORT, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor HARRY EAGLE, Albert Einstein College of Medicine JAMES D. EBERT, Carnegie Institution of Washington DON W. FAWCETT, Harvard Medical School H. ORIN HALVORSON, University of Minnesota, St. Paul ARTHUR D. HASLER, University of Wisconsin, Madison STERLING B. HENDRICKS, U.s. Department of Agriculture UPJOHN B. HICKAM, Indiana University, Indianapolis NORMAN H. HOROWITZ, California Institute of Technology ; DONALD KENNEDY, Stanford University STEPHEN KUFFLER, Harvard Medical School ALBERT I. LANSING, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine DANIEL S. LEHRMAN, Rutgers University, Newark CLEMENT L. MARKERT, Yale University ERNST MAYR, Harvard University NORTON NELSON, New York University School of Medicine HANS NEURATH, University of Washington School of Medicine ALLEN NEWELL, Carnegie-Mellon University DAVID PIMENTEL, Cornell University DAVID M. PRESCOTT, University of Colorado, Boulder HOWARD SCHNElDERMAN, University of California, Irvine SOL SPlEGELMAN, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons CURT STERN, University of California, Berkeley LEWIS THOMAS, Yale University School of Medicine ERNEST H. VOEWlEER, Abbott Laboratories MAXWELL M. WINTROBE, University of Utah College of Medicine LAURA H. GREENE, National Academy of Sciences, Executive Secretary (1969-1970) HERBERT B. PAHl, National Academy of Sciences, Executive Secretary (1967-1969) *Members of Executive Board. , Deceased. V
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COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES HARVEY BROOKS, Harvard University, Chairman ElPMAN BERS, Columbia University PAUL DOTY, Harvard University CARL ECKART, University of California, San Diego HERBERT FRIEDMAN, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory ROBERT M. GARREES, University of California, San Diego J. G. HARRAR, Rockefeller Foundation ARTHUR D. HASEER University of Wisconsin, Madison EEEAND J. HAWORTH, Brookhaven National Laboratory STERLING B. HENDRICKS, U.S. Department of Agriculture CLEMENT L. MARKERT, Yale University ROBERT K. MERTON, Columbia University GEORGE A. MILLER, Rockefeller University HARRISON SHUEE, Indiana University HERBERT A. SIMON, Carnegie-Mellon University ROBERT E. GREEN, National Academy of Sciences, Executive Secretary V1
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PREFACE In 1963, the Committee on Science and Public Policy of the National Acad- emy of Sciences embarked upon a series of surveys of the status of various scientific disciplines. Each survey has attempted to summarize the most recent accomplishments of the discipline at its frontiers, the extent to which the findings of the disciplines have been translated into societal benefit in recent times, the nature and magnitude of research endeavors, and the re- quirements to assure that future research efforts would be vigorous and commensurate with perceived national needs. To date, reports published in this series have summarized the findings of surveys in ground-based astronomy, solid earth geophysics, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences. For several years an equivalent study of the biological sciences was de- ferred. Whereas the physical sciences are usefully divided along conven- tional lines, no equivalently justifiable division of the life sciences seemed rational, and the entirety of the life sciences appeared to be so broad as to escape the grasp of any survey committee. Nonetheless, in 1966 the need for such a study seemed so compelling that the Committee on Research in the Life Sciences, which is responsible for the present report, was appointed by the Committee on Science and Public Policy to undertake the task. vat
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. . . Vlll PREFACE The work of the Committee was soon organized into two major, essen- tially independent efforts. In attempting to appraise the "state of the art," the Committee agreed that the classical subdisciplines of biology are no longer sufficiently instructive or suitable as approaches to current under- standing and appreciation of the phenomena of life. Thus, instead of orga- nizing the study according to conventional categories such as zoolo~v. bot- any, and microbiology, the Committee appointed panels charged, respec- tively, with review of molecular biology, biochemistry, cellular biology, the biology of development, the functions of tissues and organs, the structure of living forms, the nervous system, the biology of behavior, ecology, heredity and evolution, the diversity of life, and the origin of life. This classification of approaches to understanding of the living world will be apparent in Chapter One of this report and in subsequent analyses of the nature and magnitude of the research effort in biology. Moreover, the Survey Com- mittee believes that this organization of biological understanding is appro- priate to the organization of formal biological instruction. A separate panel was asked to address itself to the utilization of the digital computer in the life sciences, because of its growing and unique role. An- other panel was concerned with education in the life sciences, both for future investigators and teachers and for citizens generally. The results of these studies will be found in Chapters Seven and Six, respectively. An additional set of panels collaborated in evaluation of the contributions of biological understanding to agricultural practice, to medical practice, to management of renewable resources, to industrial technology, and to the problems of environmental health. These deliberations are summarized in Chapter Two. To place these matters in perspective, an independent panel was asked to address itself to "Biology and the Future of Man." The results of these efforts, edited by the undersigned, were gathered in a single volume en- titled Biology and the Future of Man, published by the Oxford University Press in May 1970. Chapters One and Two of this report represent an abbreviated digest of that volume; Chapter Nine, entitled "Biolo~v and the Future of Man," is reproduced in its entirety from that work. In the second phase of our study, a pair of questionnaires, designed by the executive board of the Survey Committee, was distributed to 25,964 life scientists, of whom 23,967 qualified as "investigators" by our criteria, and to 2,277 individuals who had been identified as chairmen of academic de- partments in the life sciences in American universities. These question- naires will be found in Appendixes A and B. as will an analysis of the valid- ity of the biologically concerned universe represented in the responses. It is the belief of the Survey Committee that the results obtained by this ques- tionnaire procedure are adequate to describe quantitatively the research and education effort in the fundamental biological sciences, including O - O ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ --I ~ rr ' _ _ ~ _ on ___ _ HA ~ _
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PREFACE iX those normal to the "preclinical" medical curriculum as these existed in 1967-1968. Regrettably, the returns of questionnaires both from individual clinical investigators and from the chairmen of clinical departments represented much smaller fractions of those two communities than did the returns from investigators in the fundamental biological sciences or the related depart- ment chairmen. There is no reason to consider that that return reflected any specific bias, and it undoubtedly constitutes an adequate sample, but it rests on a smaller sampling of the total population so engaged (40 percent) than does that in the fundamental sciences (64 percent). The data encompassed in these questionnaire returns were transferred to magnetic tape and analyzed by appropriate computer programs. With some refinements, these analyses are summarized in Chapters Three, Four, and Five, undoubtedly the most comprehensive description of the world of biological sciences yet available. Withal, it must be recognized that our questionnaires and their responses resect the situation in the last year of the post-World War II growth of federal support of research and research training. Had the Survey Com- mittee had a vision of the subsequent abrupt alteration in the rate of federal funding, the questionnaires would surely have been designed somewhat differently. In any case, the data presented totally fail to reflect the impact of subsequent changes in federal philosophy and consequently in funding of the research and education effort generally or in the life sciences in par- ticular. However, the impact of these changes was well known to our Survey Committee and our panels as this report was in preparation, particularly the chapter entitled "Conclusions and Recommendations." It was in the light of this collective experience as well as the understanding gained from analysis of the questionnaire returns that these conclusions and recom- mendations were constructed, although we lacked an adequate, compre- hensive data base with which to support some of our recommendations, which must, necessarily, rest on largely anecdotal evidence and personal experience. As the report will reveal, the task of its preparation was formidable. Such success as we may have encountered we owe to the generous support of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution, which underwrote our major expenses and whose staffs were cooperative in all regards; to our panelists and Committee, who gave of their time and effort without stint; to the Committee on Science and Public Policy, our sponsors, reviewers, and constructive critics; to numerous biological scientists who undertook specific writing assign- ments; to Milton Levine and Herbert H. Rosenberg of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, respectively, and Roland
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x PREFACE Bonato of the George Washington University for their generous assistance in the design and analysis of our questionnaires; to U. H. Leach, Jr., Herbert Soldz, Seymour Jablon, and A. Hiram Simon of the Academy staff for in- valuable assistance with data processing and preliminary analyses, which saved us from disaster; to the publications staff of the Academy; to Robert Green, Executive Officer of the Committee on Science and Public Policy, and his secretary, Mary Van Demark, for assistance in many ways large and small; to the crew of young men and women who transferred the question- naire data into forms suitable for transfer to the computer tapes; to Donna Teplitz, Brenda Hendon, and particularly to Gail Clark, who patiently man- aged our office and faultlessly prepared manuscripts and tables, and to Marilyn Swann and Saundra Greene, who aided me in all ways; and finally to Herbert Pahl, executive director of this study in its early phases, and Laura Greene, who succeeded him and managed the entire questionnaire effort, meticulously supervising each detail thereof as well as the final prepa- ration of the tables and figures in this report and all aspects of the publica- tion process. All warrant our gratitude and deep appreciation. We conclude much as we began. Four years ago we believed public support of the research endeavor in the life sciences to be among the great- est investment bargains available to the American people. Today we know that to be true. Accordingly, we are pleased to offer this report to all those concerned: to responsible administrators of the executive branch of the federal government, to the Congress, to our colleagues in science, to aca- demic administrators, to foundation executives, to students, and to practi- tioners of fundamental or applied life sciences and all their counterparts outside our own national borders. PHILIP HANDLER, Chairman Committee on Research in the Life Sciences Woods Hole, Massachusetts August 1970