NAKFI’S 15 YEARS
IGNITING INNOVATION AT THE
INTERSECTIONS OF DISCIPLINES
A Summary of the National Academies
Keck Futures Initiative, a program of the
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
This publication summarizes the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, which was designed to catalyze interdisciplinary inquiry at the most exciting frontiers. The processes and outcomes described here were informed by ongoing evaluation and observations and have been summarized by the program staff. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. For more information on the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative visit www.nationalacademies.org/keckfutures.
Funding for the activities 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: 978-0-309-48365-0
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48365-4
Digital Object Identifier: http://doi.org/10.17226/25239
Additional copies of this publication 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 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Cover photo by Paul R. Kennedy
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Collaborations of Consequence: NAKFI’s 15 Years Igniting Innovation at the Intersections of Disciplines. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: http://doi.org/10.17226/25239.
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.
The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.
Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.
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NAKFI OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
MARCIA K. MCNUTT, President, National Academy of Sciences
C. D. MOTE, JR., President, National Academy of Engineering
VICTOR J. DZAU, President, National Academy of Medicine
This publication is based on a comprehensive review and analysis of data and publications that were collected and produced during the past 15 years of the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI).
KENNETH R. FULTON, Executive Director, National Academy of Sciences
ANNE HEBERGER MARINO, Senior Program Officer (2017–2018; program officer 2006–2016)
KIMBERLY SUDA-BLAKE, Senior Program Officer (2007–2016; intermittent 2017–2018)
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This publication represents the culmination of the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), a program of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine supported by a 15-year, $40 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to advance the future of science through interdisciplinary research. From 2003 to 2017, more than 2,000 researchers and other professionals across disciplines and sectors attended an annual “think-tank” style conference to contemplate real-world challenges. Seed grants awarded to conference participants enabled further pursuit of bold, new research and ideas generated at the conference. Similar to start-up capital in the business world, NAKFI considered these grants “venture science.”
The approach developed over 15 years has become a reliable incubator for new discoveries and collaborations. NAKFI’s legacy will be found in the future scientific achievements and professional accomplishments of the program’s alumni and the use of its model by others. This publication is intended to carry forward the lessons of this extraordinary program. It is our hope that the continued application of the innovative, interdisciplinary, and collaborative strategies of the NAKFI model will contribute to fostering new combinations of scholarship and research that address pressing problems and support the discovery of novel and imaginative solutions.
Marcia K. McNutt, President, National Academy of Sciences
C. D. Mote, Jr., President, National Academy of Engineering
Victor J. Dzau, President, National Academy of Medicine
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On behalf of the National Academies we want to thank the many individuals and organizations who supported NAKFI’s activities. This project could not have been completed without them. We begin by acknowledging the generous support of the W. M. Keck Foundation, and particularly board members Edward C. Stone, Richard N. Foster, the late Stephen J. Ryan, and Foundation staff Allison Keller, Maria Pellegrini, and Mercedes Talley.
We also recognize the National Academies’ leadership, volunteers, staff, grantees, and award recipients who planned and implemented the various programs, embraced the NAKFI conference experience, or were recognized through the communication awards program, including1:
NAKFI Oversight Committees
Conference Steering Committees
NAKFI Five-Year Review Panel
NAKFI Ten-Year Evaluation and Planning Panel
Seed Grant Review Working Groups
NAKFI Challenge Selection Committee
Seed Grant Recipients
Communication Awards Selection Committees
Communication Awards Recipients and Finalists
NAKFI Staff and Consultants
Recognizing that the whole is truly more than the sum of its parts, we also acknowledge the significance of the partnerships and collaborations developed within the National Academies, including with the Office of News and Public Information; the National Academies Press; the media department of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; the Presidents’ Circle of the National Academies; the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences; the National Academies’ Board on Higher Education and Workforce; the Gulf Research Program; and LabX of the National Academy of Sciences (formerly the Koshland Science Museum). Externally, NAKFI benefited from working with graduate science writing programs at the Emory University/Atlanta BEST Program; Johns Hopkins University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; Texas A&M University; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Georgia, and University of Southern California. In addition, students and mentors from the Designmatters program of the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena contributed to the conference on Discovering the Deep Blue Sea. Finally, we are grateful for our partnership with the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and to its remarkable staff for providing exceptional service and an ideal setting for thought-provoking interactions.