Art, Design and Science,
Engineering and Medicine
Ideation, Translation, Realization
Seed Idea Group Summaries
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center
November 12-13, 2015
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The Seed Idea Group summaries in this publication are based on Seed Idea Group discussions during the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference on Art, Design and Science, Engineering and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation, and Realization held at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California, November 12-14, 2015. The discussions in these groups were summarized by the authors. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Seed Idea Group and do not necessarily reflect the view of any organization or agency that provided support for this project. For more information on the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative visit www.keckfutures.org.
Funding for the activity that led to this publication was provided by the W. M. Keck Foundation. Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. In recent years, the Foundation has focused on science and engineering research; medical research; undergraduate education; and Southern California. Each grant program invests in people and programs that are making a difference in the quality of life, now and for the future. For more information visit www.wmkeck.org.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-44347-0
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-44347-4
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/23528
Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2016 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Art, Design and Science, Engineering and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation, and Realization: Seed Idea Group Summaries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23528.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president.
The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES KECK FUTURES INITIATIVE ART, DESIGN AND SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND MEDICINE FRONTIER COLLABORATIONS: IDEATION, TRANSLATION, AND REALIZATION
DAVID A. EDWARDS (NAE), Chair, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation, Harvard University; Core Member, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering; Founder and Director, Le Laboratoire in Paris, France, and Cambridge (USA); Faculty Associate, Center for Nanoscale Systems
MARIANA AMATULLO, Co-Founder and Vice President, Designmatters, ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena; Design and Innovation Fellow, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.
MINA J. BISSELL (NAS/NAM), Distinguished Scientist Life Sciences Division, E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
DAVID K. CAMPBELL, Professor of Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, Boston University
BARBARA J. CULLITON (NAM), President, The Culliton Group
ERIC J. HELLER (NAS), Professor of Chemistry and Physics, Department of Chemistry, Harvard University
DONALD INGBER (NAM), Director, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University; Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology, Harvard Medical School & Vascular Biology Program, Boston Children’s Hospital; Professor of Bioengineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Wyss Institute
HENRY PETROSKI (NAE), Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University
BEN SHNEIDERMAN (NAE), Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland
NICOLA TRISCOTT, Founder and Director, The Arts Catalyst; Co-founder, Catalyst Rwanda
LISA WONG, Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital; Past President and Violinist, Longwood Symphony Orchestra
DAVID YAGER, President, The University of the Arts
KENNETH R. FULTON, Executive Director
KIMBERLY A. SUDA-BLAKE, Senior Program Director
ANNE HEBERGER MARINO, Program Officer
CRISTEN A. KELLY, Associate Program Officer
RACHEL LESINSKI, Program Associate
BARBARA J. CULLITON, Director, NAKFI Science Writing Scholar Program
The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES KECK FUTURES INITIATIVE
The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) was launched in 2003 with generous support from the W. M. Keck Foundation. It is a 15-year experiment to catalyze interdisciplinary research across fields of science, engineering, and medicine. NAKFI creates opportunities to cross both disciplinary and professional boundaries, which is of paramount importance in making scientific progress today. Together, the Academies and the W. M. Keck Foundation believed that advancing this common goal included catalyzing successful communication among the “best and brightest” who otherwise live in different worlds and speak different languages; conducting meetings that introduce novel questions; and providing seed grants to bridge the gap between new ideas and sustained funding.
The Futures Initiative is designed to enable scientists from different disciplines to focus on new questions, upon which they can base entirely new research, and to encourage and reward outstanding communication between scientists as well as between the scientific enterprise and the public. The Futures Initiative includes three main components:
NAKFI accomplishes its mission by harnessing the intellectual horsepower of the brightest minds of people from diverse backgrounds who attend an annual “think-tank” style conference to contemplate the real-world challenges of our day, having been prepared for deep conversations though
pre-conference tutorials. NAKFI conferences are intentionally crafted to allow multiple ways for attendees to interact. Some of the conference components are familiar, such as plenary sessions, but the expected gives way to the unconventional at a NAKFI conference. The format of Futures Conferences evolved from a traditional program of lectures and panel discussions to a meeting focused on providing a variety of venues for conversation. The foundation of this approach is the appointment of conference participants to seed idea groups charged with finding solutions to real-world problems. In addition to working in these concurrent groups—each of which reports on its work mid-way through the conference—participants have many opportunities for informal conversations and collaboration during “free” times and meals.
NAKFI has inspired its diverse network to “think big” at the frontiers of science, engineering, and medicine. And this is just the first step in its role as conversation shifter, idea incubator, career changer, and venture science funder.
Futures grants are awarded to conference participants to enable further pursuit of new ideas and inspirations generated at the conference, conceptualized as “venture science,” similar to start-up capital in the business world.
Futures grants serve as an incentive for attendees to collaborate after the conference and provide resources for startup research projects. Grants can also be awarded for meetings that explore a facet of Futures conferences in more depth or with a different audience. The grant application process is straightforward and reporting requirements are kept to a minimum. Principal investigators have already been vetted by the conference steering committee for attendance at the conference, and the grant selection committee looks for projects with the greatest potential to succeed. At the same time, it is willing to support high-risk propositions. NAKFI encourages grantees to learn as they go and to make changes to their plans as appropriate. Projects that experience unexpected delays or need more time can request a no-cost extension with a simple email explanation. Final reports cover a few key areas of interest to the program and encourage investigators to reflect on what worked, what did not work, and why.
The Communication Awards are designed to recognize, promote, and encourage effective communication of science, engineering, medicine, and/or interdisciplinary work within and beyond the scientific community. Each year the Futures Initiative awards $20,000 prizes to those who have advanced the public’s understanding and appreciation of science, engineering, and/or medicine. The awards are given in four categories: books, film/radio/television, magazine/newspaper, and online. The winners are honored during a ceremony in the fall in Washington, DC.
NAKFI cultivates science writers of the future by inviting graduate students from science writing programs across the country to attend the conference and develop Seed Idea Group team discussion summaries and a conference overview for publication in this book. Students are nominated by the department director or designee and selected by program staff. They prepare for the conference by reviewing the pre-conference tutorials and suggested reading, and selecting a Seed Idea Group in which they would like to participate. Students then work with NAKFI’s science writing consultant to finalize their reports following the conferences.
Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research Study
During the first 18 months of the Futures Initiative, the Academies undertook a study on facilitating interdisciplinary research. The study examined the current scope of interdisciplinary efforts and provided recommendations as to how such research can be facilitated by funding organizations and academic institutions. Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research (2005) is available from the National Academies Press (www.nap.edu) in print and free PDF versions.
About the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. The Academies’ work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. For more information, visit www.nationalacademies.org.
About the W. M. Keck Foundation
Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The Foundation’s grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of science and engineering research; medical research; undergraduate education; and Southern California. Each grant program invests in people and programs that are making a difference in the quality of life, now and in the future. For more information, visit www.wmkeck.org.
National Academies Keck Futures Initiative
100 Academy, 2nd Floor
Irvine, CA 92617
At the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference on Art, Design and Science, Engineering and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation, and Realization, participants were divided into Seed Idea Groups comprised of 6-8 attendees. The groups spent nearly 20 hours over 3 days exploring diverse challenges at the interface of science, engineering, and medicine. The composition of the teams was intentionally diverse, to encourage the generation of new approaches by combining a range of different types of contributions. The teams included creative practitioners from the fields of art, design, communications, science, engineering, and medicine, as well as representatives from private and public funding agencies, universities, businesses, journals, and the science media. Participants represented a wide range of experience—from postdoc to those well established in their careers—from a variety of disciplines that included art, design, science, engineering, medicine, physics, biology, economics, and behavioral science.
The groups needed to address the challenge of communicating and working together from a diversity of expertise and perspectives as they attempted to solve a complicated, interdisciplinary problem in a relatively short time. Each group decided on its own structure and approach to tackle the problem. Some groups decided to refine or redefine their problems based on their experience.
Each team presented two brief reports to all participants: (1) a 1-minute pitch, including a summary of idea; the first testable proposition(s); and remaining questions/stumbling blocks; and (2) a final presentation on Saturday, when each team:
- Provided a concise statement of the problem;
- Outlined a structure for its solution;
- Identified the most important gaps in art, communication, science, and technology and recommended research or activities needed to address the problem; and
- Indicated the benefits to society if the problem could be solved.
Each Seed Idea Group included a graduate student in a university science writing program. Based on the team interaction and the final briefings, the students wrote the following summaries. These summaries describe the group’s process and the potential educational, cultural, social, and scientific impact of the group’s proposal.
Each participant brings varying levels of knowledge to the topics included in this year’s conference. To help create a common language for the meeting, participants were asked to engage in pre-conference learning and to participate in a pre-conference activity related to their Seed Idea team prior to the November conference. Attendees were encouraged to watch a variety of videos first and then think about the content specific to their Seed Idea team.