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Committee on Resource Sharing in Biomedical Research
Department of Microbiology, Cornell University Medical College
ENRIQUETA C. BOND, Cochair, President,
The Burroughs Welcome Fund, Morrisville, North Carolina
CHARLES R. CANTOR, Director,
Center for Advanced Biotechnology and
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics,
LINDA C. CORK,* Chairman,
Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
DAVID W. MARTIN, JR., President,
Lynx Therapeutics, Inc., Hayward, California
FRANCIS J. MEYER, Associate Vice-Chancellor and Director,
Office of Technology Development, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
RUSSELL ROSS,* Professor,
Department of Pathology and
Department of Biochemistry, Center for Vascular Biology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
MICHAEL SAAG, Associate Professor,
Department of Medicine and
General Clinical Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham
VALERIE SETLOW, Director,
Division of Health Science Policy, Institute of Medicine
ERIC FISCHER, Director,
Board on Biology, Commission on Life Sciences, National Academy of Sciences
FREDERICK J. MANNING, Study Director
MARGO CULLEN, Project Assistant
JAMAINE TINKER, Financial Associate
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The United States is entering an era when, more than ever, the sharing of resources and information may be critical to scientific progress. Research and development programs are unlikely to escape continuing efforts to control federal spending, making optimal use of resources an imperative. Although competition undoubtedly has been a vital factor in the continuing excellence of American science, every dollar saved by avoiding duplication and producing economies of scale will become increasingly important as funding declines. As an initial step in exploring how best to do that, the National Research Council provided support for a workshop aimed at developing consensus within the research community about critical issues related to the sharing of resources. An eight-member steering committee selected to provide a broad spectrum of experience with shared resources was charged with planning the workshop and providing this report on the workshop and the committee's conclusions and recommendations. The specific goals of the workshop, which was held in Washington, D.C., January 22–23, 1996, were to examine the status of resource sharing in one or more categories of "resource" in the biomedical sciences, to identify critical barriers and opportunities, and to develop a consensus about what needs to be done in this arena.
Although the committee bears full responsibility for the conclusions and recommendations in the report, we would be seriously remiss if we failed to acknowledge the contributions of numerous others to both the planning and the conduct of the workshop. First, we owe thanks to the small group of "liaisons" from federal agencies and professional societies who helped us decide on the form and content of the workshop: James Brown of the National Science Foundation, Maxwell Cowan of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Mark Frankel of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Allan Shipp of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Marvin Snyder of the
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, David Thomasson of the Department of Energy, Fred Tyner of the Army Medical Research and Material Command, and Judith Vaitukaitis of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A second group whose hard work made the workshop a success is comprised of the featured speakers—the "presenters" from whom we learned so much about the rewards and trials of resource sharing in today's biomedical research environment: Bruce Alberts of the National Academy of Sciences, Raymond Cypess of the American Type Culture Collection, Chris Somerville of the Carnegie Institution and the Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis Thaliana Genome Research Project, Muriel Davisson of The Jackson Laboratory, William Morton of the Washington Regional Primate Research Center, Steven Ealick of the Macromolecular Crystallography Resource at Cornell, Anthony Carrano of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, David Barry of Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Eugene Sokourenko of LabSearch International, Herbert Tabor of NIH and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Jerome Kassirer of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Harold Varmus of NIH.
Third, as committee cochairs we are acutely aware of the contributions that the Institute of Medicine staff have made to the success of the study. Special thanks are due to Project Assistant Margo Cullen, who made our travel and meetings as comfortable and convenient as possible and provided outstanding administrative support both at the meetings and in the painstaking production of the final report. We are particularly grateful to Study Director Rick Manning for his skilled and professional support in shepherding the committee through its task.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge the individual and collective efforts of the committee members. It was a pleasure to have worked with this group of busy but unselfish professionals who volunteered their valuable time in sharing their knowledge and experience with their fellow scientists.
KENNETH I. BERNS, COCHAIR
ENRIQUETA C. BOND, COCHAIR