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MAJOR C~J1~ ~ ~ 11 AND RECOMMENDATIONS PROLOGUE For several centuries, research in the life sciences has constituted one of the great human adventures. While developing an independent style and value system, biologists have utilized the growing understanding of the physical universe to illuminate man's dim past, establish his kinship with all living creatures, and enable comprehension of the nature of life itself. This knowl- edge and understanding underlie some of the great advances that char- acterize our civilization: prolific agricultural productivity, a longer span of enjoyable and productive human life, and the potential to ensure the quality of the environment. A brief glimpse of this great saga is presented in subse- quent chapters. We are confident that research in the life sciences can surely contribute tomorrow at least as much to human welfare as it has in the past. The living scene continues to present numerous fascinating and perplexing mysteries. If, indeed, "the proper study of man is man," what remains to be investi- gated certainly exceeds in scope, in experimental difficulty, and in potential benefit to society all that has been learned throughout recorded history. 1
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MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The community of life scientists cannot guarantee that future research will alleviate, much less eradicate, any specific one of the long list of dis- eases to which plants, animals, and man are still subject; nor can it guarantee unlimited food production for mankind or conservation of natural resources. But it is clear that if we fail to prosecute such research if we fail to follow up the promising beginnings that have been made then surely there can be no such cures no new modes of disease prevention; no new foods; no new species of plants or animals; no new disease-resistant strains of otherwise susceptible crops; no new approaches to the mental disorders that inflict so much grief and suffering; no new means to cope with the ravages that our technology imposes upon the quality of urban and rural life nor even adequate early recognition of the manner in which the changing environ- ment may threaten humanity. We must continue because research in the life sciences is a truly noble endeavor, both the performance and results of which enrich and illumine our civilization while paving the way for a healthier, wealthier society in which free citizens may strive to realize their fullest human potential. The research tradition of the United States is a gift of our European heritage. In our country, research in the life sciences developed sporadically in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and came to full flower after World War II. It was firmly lodged in the universities by the land-grant college (Morrill) acts of 1860 and 1892, by the reform of medical schools early in the twentieth century, and by the support of the great philanthropic foundations. In-house government biological research capability began within the Public Health Service and the Department of Agriculture in the last century and developed sporadically. Federal biological laboratories burgeoned after World War II when the Public Health Service and the Department of Agriculture constructed and equipped some of the world's finest laboratories. This advance was followed shortly by the creation of a multiplicity of biological laboratories within the Department of Defense and among the contract centers of the Atomic Energy Commission, as well as by the establishment of special laboratories within the National Aero- nautics and Space Administration and the Department of the Interior. Private foundations pioneered in developing orderly procedures for the award of research grants, providing precedent for the nationally competitive research project grants and contracts programs of a variety of federal agencies, a system that, when it was adequately funded, brought American science to a peak heretofore unrivaled in history. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the extent of federal support of research in the life sciences, 1956-1969. This period coincided with the introduction of sophisticated physical and chemical approaches to the understanding of life processes. A young disci- pline, biochemistry, flourished, and America early achieved world leader
4 THE LIFE SCIENCES 60 50¢ 40 _ u) . _ 30 ~ 20 _ 10 ~_~ - I ~ is. 1 .; · · N S F i/ I it/: ,~EC I. · · Agr. \< NASA / ~ ! ' I , , , l / 4~ ~, , , I , I I I l I 1956 1958 1960 1962 1964 -- ~ DOD Anterior ~ / All Other 1966 1968 1970 FIGURE 2 Federal support of research in the life sciences, by agency (other than the Depart- ment of Health, Education, and Welfare), in constant dollars, fiscal years 1956-1969. (The data for 1969 are estimated. Support is normalized to constant dollars, with 1956 as the base. As in Figure 1, the data refer to "basic" research.)
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ship in this field. In turn, biochemical thinking and procedures were applied to the major questions of biology the nature of cells, genetic mechanisms, and physiological and pathological processes at all levels of organization, from cells, to whole plants and animals, to man, to entire populations. A golden era of biological understanding was ushered in by the powerful in- sights thus gained. So armed, our national capability to utilize biology for societal purposes rapidly grew in sophistication and success. This "system," by which the federal government became the principal patron of American science, grew rapidly but in a loose, uncoordinated manner. Each agency developed its own style, set its own priorities, estab- lished its own rules and regulations, and determined for itself what fraction of its resources should be devoted to fundamental and applied research and to development. Only the National Science Foundation was charged to assure the strength of the total national science endeavor, and its appro- priations have never been adequate to this task. No federal agency has yet been fully charged with the welfare of the academic institutions in which so much of the research endeavor occurs, nor has any of them been given funds sufficient to ensure a continuing flow of scientifically trained man- power. Yet there have been important innovations in these regards. Encouraged by the Congress, the National Science Foundation developed modest programs to permit individual colleges and universities to upgrade their capabilities for research and education in science, followed by an equivalent program for medical schools at the National Institutes of Health. The National Science Foundation and, later, the National Institutes of Health developed programs that conveyed block grants of modest size, calculated on a formula basis, to institutions or their medical schools to supplement research and research-training programs, while the Department of Agriculture continued to provide block-grant subvention to the state agricultural colleges. Support of graduate students began with fellowship programs in several agencies. The major innovation in this regard was the institution of disci- plinary training grants at the National Institutes of Health grants that pro- vide not only stipends for graduate students but also additional funds to strengthen the quality of their training e.g., for equipment, consumable supplies, visiting lecturers, or, occasionally, additional faculty. The training grants of the National Science Foundation, however, have never been funded on a scale commensurate with such objectives and have been limited to what are, in effect, locally administered fellowship programs, while both agencies, and others, have managed predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship programs. One additional innovation is noteworthy: the growth of large centers hous- ing major facilities for the conduct of research, which are available to scientists based anywhere in the nation. While most such centers are con
6 THE LIFE SCIENCES corned largely with aspects of the physical sciences, several phytotrons, biotrons, marine stations, research vessels, and controlled field areas may properly be regarded as national research facilities. As we enter the fourth consecutive fiscal year in which the financial sup- port of this patchwork of programs has either remained constant or declined in constant dollars, this system is experiencing a sense of crisis. Increasing numbers of universities, medical schools, departments, and scientists com- pete for these funds; the number of graduate students continues to increase; and scientific capabilities become ever more sophisticated, and hence more costly, while the purchasing power of the dollar has declined by about 30 percent during this four-year period. As signs of this retrenchment have become evident, morale has fallen and apprehension has risen. Neither institutions nor investigators can plan rationally for the future; graduate students and postdoctoral fellows become insecure and alarmed; under- graduates aspiring to graduate and professional schools can no longer sense the national purpose and, hence, falter in their decisions. Unfortunately, the questionnaires providing the data base for this report were distributed and collected early in fiscal year 1968, and they reveal nothing of the impact of this alteration in the pattern of federal funding. Whereas we have some anecdotal evidence in this regard, there are no avail- able statistics permitting us to assess the impact of this situation. It is evident, however, that most investigators carry on, although necessarily at a somewhat restricted pace; that large laboratories have been forced to dismiss some of their personnel; that young investigators find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to secure research support; and that, although the "system" is as yet intact, responsible investigators and academic adminis- trators are increasingly apprehensive. A recent survey by the National Academy of Sciences has established that only about 1 percent of all Ph.D. graduates of the classes of 1968 and 1969 are either unemployed or are employed in positions that do not permit them to utilize their graduate educations. Nothing is known of the fate of the postdoctoral fellows who should have emerged during this period, but mobility has been markedly restrained. And the consequences to the system of the depressed funding levels in the federal budgets for fiscal year 1971 will certainly be extensive and profound. The studies reported here have exposed something of the nature and magnitude of the current endeavor in the life sciences. They provide guide- lines for the societal support of this endeavor in the next decade; but they do not and cannot provide quantitative parameters adequate to establish the appropriate magnitude of that support. It is, rather, the opportunities for significant research, the national supply of talented life scientists, and the requirements for their support, combined with the national sense of urgency
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS and purpose, that best define the appropriate magnitude of the research effort and determine its tempo. In turn, these must involve decisions con- cerning the support of educational institutions, the desired character of those institutions, and the provision of facilities and training of manpower, as well as decisions concerning a national system for delivery of health care- decisions that must necessarily be made in the public arena. The acute financial plight of numerous medical schools has not gone un- noticed by the press, which expresses legitimate concern about the rising costs of health care and of hospitalization (largely due to wage increases for nonprofessional personnel); concern that care in university medical centers is superior to that in outlying hospitals; concern that the supply of physicians is inadequate to national needs and that, perhaps, medical schools train significantly fewer physicians than they might with their available resources; concern that disadvantaged citizens have little access to the present system for delivery of health care; and concern that many physicians and, indeed, many paramedical personnel are overtrained for their actual roles. The press has also evidenced concern about such allegations as, "research is performed at the expense of teaching," "research is misdirected to funda- mental questions rather than the problems of disease," "research results, available even now, are not utilized in clinical practice," and "some signifi- cant fraction of research is mediocre or insignificant." In the milieu reflected in such criticisms the medical schools of the nation are confronted by a crisis of public confidence that is not abated by public concern about th parent institutions and their crises of student unrest. Until these concerns are resolved, recommendations regarding overall funding for research are futile. The American public, through its elected representatives, must soon decide what it wants and what it is willing to pay for. Many of the recommendations presented here rest on the following premises, on which the Committee on Research in the Life Sciences is en- tirely agreed. 1. Although quite unplanned, the American biomedical enterprise is a unique and highly successful endeavor, the envy of the world, and, as such, should be a source of great national pride. 2. The rapidly unfolding understanding of life in molecular terms is not merely one of the gigantic intellectual accomplishments of man; it is the unique basis for hope that, in the future, we shall be able to cope with the major diseases to which man is subject, thereby lengthening the span of useful, enjoyable human life. 3. Again without a well-debated and accepted plan, the nation's uni- versities, including their medical, agricultural, public health, veterinary, dental, and engineering schools, are both educational instruments and pri 7
THE LIFE SCIENCES mary locales for the conduct of research. That research not only enriches the intellectual life of these institutions, it is also a prime national purpose in and of itself. In consequence, the quality of teaching and of education in these institutions is at an all-time high, incomparably superior to that which was available to the authors of this report when they were students. This is made evident by the competence of recent graduates of these institutions, whether undergraduate, graduate, or professional. And it is made no less true by student complaints about "relevance" or about insufficient contact with distinguished professors. If support of research and research training is permitted to decline, even if simply eroded by inflation, responsible agencies will be confronted with a hard choice, and the public should participate in the decision pro- cess. One alternative is to maintain quality standards and to support only the best research, performed by the most competent investigators. Then, if current trends were to continue, within a few years, research funds would again be limited to a relatively small group of institutions, and great regions of the country would be without universities or medical schools with sig- nificant research endeavors. The general tone of life in these regions would suffer, as would the education of their students; this would not occur in areas still fortunate enough to be recipients of research funds. The second alternative is to cut the support of all projects in proportion to the reduction in funding. In time, research productivity in all institutions would be seri- ously injured, and all would sink into mediocrity. We find neither alternative acceptable. Our students should be educated in the best settings we know how to provide. We are not content to train large numbers of "doctors" as slightly overeducated technicians unable to cope with any but the most routine clinical situations. We owe it to posterity to pursue research into the nature of life and into the nature of man and his disorders with all the imagination and tools at our command. This may appear expensive in total investment, but how expensive is it relatively to a nation that consumes tobacco, alcohol, cosmetics, automobiles, television sets, and outboard motors on an unprecedented scale and spends $60 billion, annually, on inadequate health care? We need not speak here to the financial requirements for a vigorous re- search and development enterprise in those aspects of industry that depend upon progress in the life sciences. Indeed, because of the great difficulties in securing reliable information concerning the numbers and types of scien- tific manpower and their activities in industry, our studies shed little light on the nature of the life sciences endeavor in industry. The usual market forces should suffice, provided the educational system continues to yield an adequate flow of appropriately trained scientists and of new biological understanding.
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Nor can we speak to the financial requirements of research in government, largely federal, laboratories. The scope and scale of such endeavors should always be appropriate to the current missions of those agencies that conduct in-house biomedical research, such as the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Veterans' Administration, the Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Smithsonian Institution, each of which can boast of an illustrious history of distinguished research. It is our deep con- viction that each federal agency whose mission is science-based should continue to manage a vigorous intramural research program and support a commensurate extramural program of applied and fundamental research relevant to its mission. In light of our studies, we can, however, offer some prescriptions with respect to the major single component of the entire system the educational and research activities of life scientists in the academic world. We join many fellow citizens in urging that we more vigorously implement a variety of domestic programs; the federal government must undertake support of science on a scale commensurate with the magnitude and scope of those national aspirations that can be achieved only by further scientific understanding. The present pause in the funding of science should be utilized as an opportunity for planning a complete system of support for the future, which should be not a haphazard patchwork but an orderly continuum. Such planning should be undertaken with due regard for the financial stability and nurture of institutions of higher learning, which, col- lectively, have become a great national resource as well as for the specific requirements for research imperative to future national programs concerned with the magnitude of the population of both the United States and the world, the quality of the environment, the public health, and the world and American food supplies, while also assuring an adequate future flow of scientifically trained manpower. No other sector of the American economy can conceivably substitute for the federal government in these regards. Thus, it is essential that the federal government not only accept this respon- sibility but also plan accordingly in a thoroughly responsible manner. If this system is to survive and adequately serve our society, it cannot be repeatedly subject to sharp swings in funding levels. Funding must not be turned on or off on an annual basis. To the fullest extent possible, government programs should continue to develop in a carefully orchestrated manner, with the various major components of support for institutions, individuals in training, and the research endeavor itself appropriately synchronized. We must re-emphasize the far-reaching benefits that will accrue to the citizens of the United States if the research endeavor in the life sciences is prosecuted vigorously, fully utilizing the talents of the existing pool of life 9
10 THE LIFE SCIENCES scientists and of the vigorous young people who will respond to the excite- ment of this call. This enterprise, which cost about $2,473 million from all sources, public and private, in fiscal year 1968, should be recognized as a national purpose in and of itself, a component of the modern Enlightenment that gives luster and purpose to our civilization while providing the intel- lectual platform for the continuing improvement of the national enterprise for the delivery of health care and for our ever more productive agriculture. Moreover, only if this research endeavor is successful can we leave to future generations assurance of the quality of our national life, since only by utiliz- ing the fruits of continuing research can this nation cope with the problems posed by a growing population, an advancing technology, a deteriorating environment, and dissipation of the bounty of great natural resources of our land. We must guard against impatience; decades may elapse between appre- ciation of a new scientific observation and its intelligent application to some human or technical problem. The penalty for failure to prosecute a vigorous program of fundamental research will be paid by those yet unborn. RECOMMENDATIONS Population Problems Growth of the world population and of the number of the American people, continued over historic time, will necessarily constitute a primary threat to the quality of human life. Containment of that problem will require vig- orous educational, social, and political measures. But, to be effective, these must rest on enlarged understanding of human reproductive physiology. Only a broad program of research can provide the understanding necessary to make possible completely safe, reliable, effective, and reversible biological measures whereby appropriately educated couples may restrict the size of their families. Achievement of these goals requires establishment of a responsible, vig- orous, and highly visible mechanism, within the federal government, for the implementation of these diverse programs. We find no need for the consti- tution of a new agency but strongly urge the identification and appropriate funding of such a central mechanism within an existing federal agency. Such an agency should have statutory authority to engage in and financially support relevant educational and research programs at home and abroad. It should serve as a central repository of relevant scientific, social, educa- tional, and political information and as a vehicle for dissemination thereof,
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS but its identification need not exclude other agencies from contributing to the huge effort required. The Environment Evidence of the deterioration of the quality of the air, water, and fertile soil of the planet is reported daily by the press deterioration that is proceeding most rapidly in the most technologically developed nations, but that worsens apace in virtually all nations. This growing threat to the quality of life and, indeed, to the habitability of the planet constitutes a profoundly human issue. Central to the effort to reverse this process is the capability of the life sciences. But neither the magnitude or criticality of that threat nor the standards to be sought can be estimated without a sufficient body of hard. reliable data. It is imperative that rational standards be established for the chemical and biological quality of the air and of both impounded and nat- ural waters. It is imperative that new, degradable insecticides and pesticides with highly specific actions be devised and that their ecological consequences be understood, as it is imperative that the full ecological impact of the existing arm amentarium of such agents be evaluated. Classical dose re- sponses, evaluated only in terms of mortality or morbidity statistics, will not suffice; such data must also include assessment in terms of modern knowl- edge of cell physiology, metabolism, and cytogenetics. It is imperative that we acquire an inventory of the planet's useful renewable resources. And it is imperative that, as soon as possible, knowledgeable biologists cooperate with those who will plan the growth and redevelopment of urban and sub- urban communities in solving the complex problems generated by the perturbations of nature resulting from our diverse technologies. Cooperation among biological and social scientists as well as engineers in the design of new communities is required also in planning highways, in restricting natural areas for recreational use, and in evaluating proposals for changes in the national landscape. Although the life sciences, even now, are capable of contributing si~- nificantly to this critical enterprise, the science of ecology, while crucial, is still developing; its capabilities are limited, as is the number of ecologists. It must be clear that ecological understanding rests upon the totality of all other biological understanding upon our comprehension of physiological function, nutritional requirements, and reproductive mechanisms of plants, animals, and microbial forms as well as of the deleterious effects of chemical entities not normally present in the environment. Thus, continuing advance- ment of understanding along all biological fronts is essential to the develop- ment of ecological understanding 11
THE LIFE SCIENCES As ecologists embark upon the essential exercise of extending their com- prehension from relatively small managed plots and lakes to biomes, which are orders of magnitude greater, the data collection and analysis required are also manyfold greater in all aspects, including their cost. It is unfortunate that this youthful science has so rapidly become essential to maintaining the quality of our civilization, and it would be tragic indeed if its further devel- opment were limited by lack of the relatively modest funds required to assure its growth. The multitudinous inputs required for management of the environment are such that no one federal agency will suffice to manage the various pro- grams involved. In addition to the newly created agency, components of the Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare, Interior, and Agricul- ture, as well as the Department of Commerce, all have appropriate roles to play. Each should be encouraged to proceed with the utmost vigor and to seek support from the academic community wherever this is appro- priate. Other agencies with no regulatory function but whose programs can affect the quality of the environment-e.g., the Atomic Energy Com- mission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the De- partment of Defense-should acquire the necessary biological capabilities to analyze the effects of their programs upon the environment and recom- mend accordingly. In the face of a growing emergency, however, some one major agency should be designated as the planning focus for major action programs in this area and as manager of the relevant information system. Presumably, this role will be assigned to the new agency. Meanwhile, the National Science Foundation should be recognized as the principal federal agency for the support and strengthening of the national capability for research and education in ecology, and its support programs in this area should be augmented as rapidly as the capabilities of the aca- demic ecological community will allow. Finally, it is important to recognize that, with the inauguration of the research programs of the International Biological Program, investigations in ecology have begun to assume the proportions of "big science." This survey committee recommends that there be brought into being a "National Institute of Environmental Studies," located at some central point in the United States. The institute should have access to a large and powerful computer and to a variety of vehicles for use on land, on water, and in the air. The center should provide facilities for its central staff and for visiting ecologists and other life scientists, for physical and social scientists, for engineers, and for attorneys from universities across the nation; it should serve as a center for study of the sociotechnological aspects of the environment and as a source of advice to the many distinct entities in both the government and private sectors that can profitably utilize such assist
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ance. In a sense, such an institute would be the converse of the National Institute for Environmental Health, which is concerned primarily with the effect on man of elements of his environment, although this term of refer- ence should not be interpreted too narrowly. The proposed institute would be concerned, inter alla, with the effects of man on his environment. Because the network of environmental responsibilities extends across so many agencies of government, it is suggested that a working council com- posed of assistant secretaries of the appropriate departments of government, or their equivalents, specifically concerned with such problems, could serve as a vital coordination arid communication mechanism, working in concert with the White House Council of Environmental Advisers. Further, we endorse the concept of an annual report on the state of the environment to be transmitted to the Congress by the President. Health Advances achieved in the last decade in the understanding of man and the diseases to which he is subject have totally overhauled and remarkably enhanced the armamentarium available to the physician. For a variety of reasons, the quality of health care available at the great medical centers affiliated with our medical schools probably exceeds that available in most, but by no means all, other agencies for the provision of such care. We offer support and encouragement to all those who would utilize available medical technology to upgrade the quality of medical care wherever it is offered. Further, we recognize that the needs and enhanced expectations of disad- vantaged citizens for medical care will necessarily make new demands on the federal treasury. At the same time, a substantial number of clinical scientists must direct their talents toward the development of more efficient and effective mechanisms for the delivery of optimal medical care to all citizens, regardless of income level. Nevertheless, we deplore the fact that these new directions are already being sought within the static budget of the National Institutes of Health, and hence, necessarily at the expense of the biomedical research endeavor. It will be no service to our progeny if in this circumstance, as in so many others, the seemingly urgent drives out the important. Every physician knows how limited are the tools available for dealing with the endless variety of human illness, despite our recent progress. While learning and attempting to provide the benefits of that limited armamentarium to all citi- zens, it would be foolish in the extreme to do so at the expense of the very research enterprise that will fortify that armamentarium in the years to come. The total annual expenditure for health care is of the order of $60
4 THE LIFE SCIENCES billion, whereas about $2 billion is expended upon related research by all sectors of our society. Even if the entire $1 billion federal contribution to biomedical research were diverted to improvement of health care, it could have but trivial impact, while a vital national resource, our biomedical research capability, would be destroyed. We warmly support an enlarged program of research directed at the improvement of our social instruments for the prevention of disease and the delivery of health care. But, equally strongly, we urge that such a program be funded in its own right, without injury to the national biomedical education and research capability. Moreover, the National Institutes of Health will be confronted with more and more fiscal and policy pressures that will tend to force the institutes into an ever narrower view of the "mission-relatedness" of the applications for research support that come before them. We urge that these pressures be resisted. The historic fact, illustrated in succeeding chapters, is that funda- mental research has been a major contributor to the solution of eminently practical problems in the field of health. Additional research, designed to provide fundamental understanding, is imperative to the prevention and cure of the major killers of mankind. Until definitive preventive and thera- peutic procedures for these disorders based on such understanding become available, we must continue to rely upon the costly sometimes heroic but inadequate measures that constitute the great bulk of current clinical practice. If historical precedent is any guide, when definitive procedures are provided by research, they are invariably not only more satisfactory but also decidedly simpler and cheaper than are the stopgap procedures that occupy most of the efforts of the health care system. No less significantly, the majority of clinical investigators in the academic world, as well as those in both federal and industrial laboratories, character- ize their own endeavors as "basic research." Yet these investigations, in their view, constitute the most rational, promising approaches to solution of the clinical problems that confront them daily. It would be tragic indeed if future medical research were confined to feckless attempts to apply the inapplicable, at the expense of fundamental research that may yet reveal the underlying causes of diseases and suggest effective approaches to their pre- vention and alleviation. For two decades ':he National Institutes of Health has supported a balanced program of fundamental and applied biological and medical research. We urge that it continue to do so. We also recom- mend that, as its appropriations permit, the National Science Foundation expand its support of fundamental research in the life sciences, watchful of restrictions in the support policies of the National Institutes of Health e.g., in the diminished support of organic chemistry and studies of photosynthesis that occurred in fiscal year 1970 and of deficiencies in the programs of
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS the Department of Agriculture. Already the major supporter of studies of systematic biology and fundamental ecology, the National Science Founda- tion should remain conscious of the need to pursue research along all the frontiers of the life sciences. Agriculture The American agricultural enterprise the totality of "agribusiness" is one of the most remarkable accomplishments of our civilization. Much of its success is owed to the network consisting of the United States Department of Agriculture, state departments of agriculture, and state university agri- cultural schools and agricultural extension services. For several decades, federal interest in the farmer was concerned in large part with the quality of rural life and the need to keep a reasonable number of farmers engaged in agricultural practice, while coping with the surpluses of agricultural pro- ductivity. But that era has passed. Our agricultural surpluses are well nigh gone, our own population increases, and we recognize a moral obligation to assist the poor and hungry in other lands. Accordingly, we urge renewed and expanded attention to the classical problems of agricultural practice: (1 J the development of new strains of a variety of crops resistant to disease and to adverse physical conditions; (2) the development of new strains of higher nutritional value and of greater productivity per acre; and (3) the discovery of new means for opening to agriculture of soils previously useless for this purpose. The latter process should be avoided to the maximum extent possible in the United States, preserving such lands for wilderness and recreation, but it is very important in various developing nations, particularly those with laterite soils. We take heart in the remarkable accomplishments in Mexico and in the Philippines, which have made available new strains of corn, wheat, and rice, which, for the nonce, have staved off the specter of world famine. But the need is still with us, and only a significant domestic research effort will permit both optimal nutrition of our own population and contribution to the world food supply. Entirely new plant species warrant investigation, and the time may well be at hand also for examining not only new disease- resistant animal strains but also new animal species not traditionally husbanded by man. Other experiments should be conducted with new technologies such as aquiculture in the nation's estuaries, ponds, and lakes, and even with the development of a technology for the eventual operation of inland "fish factories" analogous to the "chicken factories" of current practice. Indeed, catfish are already being bred successfully in this manner 15
16 THE LIFE SCIENCES in several southern states, as are trout in Idaho. The totality of this effort can succeed only if the underlying biological principles are also given ade- quate attention. For these reasons, it is our belief that the National Science Foundation. the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Agriculture should constitute the major sources of support for the academic endeavor in the life sciences. It is regrettable that the Department of Agriculture has con- fined its support of academic research to the agricultural colleges. Such research necessarily rests on the much broader base of plant science and, indeed, on all of biology. Financial support of this broader effort by the Department of Agriculture would result in long-term strengthening of the scientific base of the department's programs and would engender useful liaisons between the department staff and some of the nation's leading scien- tists. This is not to deny significant roles to those other mission agencies with a stake in the progress of the life sciences, e.g., the Atomic Energy Com- mission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Depart- ment of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the Veterans' Administration. But if the first three agencies named provide the major sustaining support required, support from the second group could be limited to that research most germane to their mission requirements. The Academic Endeavor in the Life Sciences INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT PROGRAMS American universities and their graduate and professional schools have arisen over a period of more than two centuries, with diverse and often limited or local sponsorship. In the American tradition, each educational institution is both supported and controlled by the constituency it serves. This has long been evident in the hierarchy of institutions from grade school through the graduate universities and in the limited constituencies of certain private institutions. With the passage of time, the graduate and professional schools of both private and state universities have acquired national rather than local constituencies. Each receives young people from across the land, who later leave to seek careers wherever appropriate opportunities may beckon. Accordingly, we consider that, of all elements of the educational system, the graduate and professional schools are most appropriately sup- ported from the federal treasury. Moreover, if that support were sufficient and delivered by appropriate mechanisms, it would provide urgently needed relief of the overall fiscal problems of these institutions of higher learning.
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS We must re-emphasize that, in the university setting, the research and educational endeavors are inextricably intertwined and cannot rationally be separated. Any effort to do so, for example, by time and effort reporting, is at best an artificial contrivance that will present a misleading and inap- propriate picture of the nature of these endeavors. In designing instruments for financial support directed at either research or education in the univer- sities, both aspects of the system must be strengthened, concomitantly, and such instruments should not be designed so as to distort the intrinsic nature of the relationship between education and research. Our studies have revealed the heavy dependence of the universities on federal funding to meet their faculty payrolls, a dependence that is least apparent among the arts and sciences colleges of state universities, and much more apparent in private universities, most particularly in their med- ical schools. To charge federal contributions to these faculty salary pay- ments against federal appropriations earmarked for research can be seriously misleading. Without those contributions, universities and their graduate and professional schools would find it impossible not only to pursue their re- search endeavors but also to meet their fundamental teaching obligations. The increasing undergraduate, graduate, and professional enrollments expected in the decade ahead must necessarily aggravate these circum- stances. As the traditional income sources of the universities become less adequate to offset mounting expenditures, in the absence of a research endeavor on the current scale, universities could undoubtedly meet their teaching obligations with smaller faculties. But then, not only would there be no research progress, but teaching at all levels would necessarily become dull, retrospective, and stultified as it becomes increasingly remote from the excitement of the present and the promise of the future. The scientific training of future citizens, practitioners, teachers, and investigators would be gravely compromised. We believe support of the graduate and professional educational and research endeavor to be both a proper and a necessary function of the fed- eral government. However, we also consider that payment of faculty salaries from grants and contracts in support of research constitutes a most unde- sirable distortion of the internal arrangements of academic institutions and of the relationship between institutions of higher learning and the federal government. Hence, we strongly endorse recommendations, previously presented in a variety of other reports concerned with federal support of academic activi- ties, that there soon be brought into being programs of block support to colleges and universities and their graduate and professional schools on a scale sufficient, when combined with their normal resources, to enable these institutions to meet all faculty salary payments from funds controlled by 17
18 THE LIFE SCIENCES the central university administrators or those of the various colleges. Fur- ther, we believe that such support should be sufficient to provide oppor- tunities for the development of new educational programs and services. These block grants distributed on the basis of appropriate formulae should be designed to provide for the specific needs of the medical, agricultural, engineering, and graduate schools, as well as the undergraduate components of both universities and liberal arts schools. Moreover, we hold that the variety of services essential to academic research activities, that, collectively, comprise those items allowable as "indirect costs" in the reckoning of gov- ernment research grants and contracts, should be regarded as essential, intrinsic aspects of the operation of the university and should properly be defrayed from a distinct program of institutional grants dedicated to this purpose rather than related to individual grants and contracts. These various block grants to the universities and their component schools should alleviate current funding difficulties without altering the individual character of these institutions. Such a system would permit university administrators to plan rationally, based on the assurance of continuity of adequate funding for their continuing commitments, thus freeing them to concentrate on the magnitude and quality of their teaching and research endeavors. GRADUATE EDUCATION IN THE LIFE SCIENCES Graduate education in the life sciences is a large and expensive enterprise. The student proceeds through a series of didactic and laboratory courses, learns to communicate in smaller seminar groups, and, through a con- tinuing dialogue with his peers, postdoctoral fellows, the faculty, and visit- ing lecturers, slowly acquires the values, the style, the history, and the experimental techniques of his discipline. These may be brought into sharper focus as he serves as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate course under the supervision of a more experienced member of the faculty and as he undertakes an original research project. Although such a project may be a totally independent endeavor, more frequently he conducts one complete phase of a larger research program in the laboratory of his faculty mentor where he works as a member of a coherent research group, utilizing all the laboratory's research facilities and conferring almost constantly with his mentor and his colleagues. The process requires four to six years and, for the successful, culminates in receiving the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The process is subject to a high degree of attrition, which may vary from 50 to 90 percent in various specific departments. These losses are somewhat inflated by the enrollment of students who intend only to expand their educations or acquire a master's degree and do not aspire to the Ph.D. Attrition among female students is
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 19 significantly greater than that among male students. It will be evident that this highly individualized form of instruction is a great drain on the re sources of the universities, demanding faculty time, space, research facilities and instrumentation, consumable supplies, and all the supporting services necessary to the conduct of research. In large measure, the costs of this enterprise are defrayed from research grants made to the faculty members, but these rarely suffice. The functional unit of graduate education is the disciplinary department or, occasionally, an organized multidisciplinary program. The quality and success of such a program is contingent upon the availability of funds to provide instrumentation used in common by the department staff and students, to support a vigorous seminar program, to operate communal facilities such as greenhouses, media preparation, animal care, and sterilization facilities, or instrument shops, as well as stipends for the graduate students. Without exception, these demands overtax the re- sources of the university. Accordingly, we strongly recommend the program of graduate-training grants instituted at the National Institutes of Health, particularly the dis- ciplinary programs of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. These programs have clearly recognized the nature and requirements of modern graduate education in the life sciences as well as the supplemental training required if the graduate of a medical school is to become an accom- plished investigator. The training-grant concept has been a remarkably successful educational innovation, upgrading the quality of education while contributing to an expansion commensurate with national needs. And we deplore the fact that, in recent times, these programs have failed to receive from either the executive or the legislative branch of the federal govern- ment the support that they merit. It is a matter of grave concern that appropriations for these programs are decreasing at the very time they should be increasing. We are convinced that the budget for these programs for fiscal year 1971 seriously underestimates the magnitude of these needs, and it is our hope that appropriations for these programs will be doubled over the course of the next five years. Support of graduate education should not be turned on and off, nor should the effectiveness of graduate education be measured in enrollments. Only continuing support can assure the continued output of well-trained scientists. Reduction in training-grant support will necessarily result in a diminished output of the trained scientists required for a diversity of careers in research, teaching, administration, and public service, and, indeed, of those required to discharge national obligations to the developing countries overseas. Continuity of support to the graduate-educational en- deavor is imperative to the national capability in the future. Indeed, we feel so strongly about this that, were it absolutely essential that some small de
20 THE LIFE SCIENCES crease be made in appropriations for the research and graduate-research- training endeavors for the next year or two, we would consider it wise to delete these funds from research support rather than from training programs. Patently, therefore, we greatly deplore the substantial reduction in the Administration's budget request for the training-grants program of the National Science Foundation for fiscal year 1971. Indeed, we recommend a marked expansion of the program of training grants at the National Scz- ence Foundation, remodeled along the lines of the program of training grants conducted by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Such a program should particularly support graduate education in those aspects of the life sciences seemingly more remote from the immediate prob- lems of health, as well as in other scientific disciplines. The increment in lifetime earnings resulting from a Ph.D. in the life sciences is modest indeed, and it is unlikely that sufficient numbers of prospective life scientists from the lower income levels of society would undertake such study without per- sonal stipend support. The nationally distributed traineeship program has demonstrated that it is better suited to the national purpose than are sti- pends defrayed from research grants or even direct fellowships. Further, we recommend that the U.S. Department of Agriculture embark upon a program of analogous training grants for support of the graduate- educational endeavor, not only in the animal and plant sciences in the agricultural colleges but also in support of related education in graduate departments of the colleges of arts and sciences concerned with aspects of botany and zoology that necessarily underlie the future success of research in the somewhat more applied areas of animal and plant science. STIPENDS Until recently, relatively few qualified graduate students failed to find sti- pend support. Stipends are currently provided from training grants, national competitive fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships defrayed from research grants to members of faculties. We urge that it be made a matter of national policy, ultimately, to provide virtually all such stipends through the training-grant mechanism. Were such funds available on a sufficient scale, we would find little merit in a national competitive fellowship program wherein individual students bear a one-to-one relation- ship to an agency of the federal government, since these students must pass a screen of university and departmental admissions mechanisms in any case. We abhor the practice of supplementation of such stipends as a means of competitively attracting talented young people. That competition, which serves the national interest, should nevertheless rest on the research and educational opportunities of a given institution. However, we do support
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS local cost-of-living adjustments to a national basic stipend level' established by the sponsoring federal agencies. We urge also a substantial increment in the current basic stipend level, which has now remained unchanged during a period in which the purchasing power of the dollar has decreased by almost 30 percent. Such stipends, intended to permit graduate students to pursue their educations relatively free of major personal financial prob- lems, should certainly be set above the poverty level. We regard teaching as an essential, normal component of the graduate student's personal career development, not only because it fits him poten- tially for a career as an educator, but also because it compels collecting, organizing, and presenting in orderly, rational fashion the facts and concepts of his discipline. Accordingly, we consider it inappropriate that graduate students should receive additional compensation for such services, regardless of the source of their basic stipends. However, we are aware of the fact that increments above the basic stipend level can be utilized, with some success, to attract bright students into dis- cipline areas that they might not have contemplated otherwise. Accordingly, we do approve of limited supplementation from institutional funds of the stipends of students entering upon education in areas of specific national need in which manpower requirements are seriously limiting and an increase in manpower has been declared a matter of national policy by an appro- priate sponsoring agency. We are aware that ultimate conversion to a system of stipend support almost exclusively from training-grant programs may generate a serious handicap for a student who, for personal reasons, must pursue his education in a science department that has not qualified for training-grant support. Although we cannot recommend to any student that he seek further educa- tion in a department deemed unqualified by a jury of peers, recognizing that compelling personal circumstances may occasionally prevail, we recommend that a modest fellowship program be inaugurated specifically to support such students. CURRICULA The pace of research has far outstripped the pace of educational reform in the life sciences. Scientists, who are always anxious to seize new experi- mental approaches to scientific problems, are as conservative as any other segment of the academic community with respect to curricular change. Yet changes are urgently needed; a few relevant suggestions follow. 1. Most university campuses offer a variety of courses in the life sci- ences for the undergraduate. Yet there is clearly a core of material central
THE LIFE SCIENCES to all biology, organized along the categorical lines by which biology is considered in this report. Accordingly, a single core curriculum should be organized and presented to all undergraduate students who mater in biology, enriched by elective opportunities in the senior year. 2. Every college and university should consider development of a one- year "humanistic" course in biology for student. mni~r7no in fiPI~C rather than science. In this vein, there is also need for humanistic reorientation of the one-year course in biology presented to high school students. 3. A special one-year course in biology should be developed for under- graduate students majoring in mathematics, the physical sciences, or engineering. Such a course could capitalize on the mathematical and scientific knowledge of this group of students, permitting an intensive quantitative, and rigorous presentation of biology. 4. The program leading to the Ph.D. should be more nearly standard- ized; the research goals of the dissertation program should be less ambitious in view of the fact that so large a fraction of Ph.D. graduates go on to post- doctoral experience. As many students as possible should complete these requirements in four years. 5. Since this report is focused primarily on the national research effort in the life sciences, emphasis here has been placed on graduate education culminating in award of the Ph.D. degree. However, we fully recognize that a large fraction of those now educated in graduate schools do not go on to research careers, becoming, rather, teachers in undergraduate colleges or administrators, or entering one of a great variety of other occupations. We agree with those critics of graduate education who suggest that the formal requirements for the Ph.D. degree may not be appropriate for all such indi- viduals. Accordingly, we encourage experimentation with graduate curricula intended to lead to other advanced degrees, which would combine extensive training in biology with humanistic, social, engineering, or administrative studies, which would include some sophisticated laboratory experience but would not require an original research dissertation. Success in such efforts would reduce the national bill for graduate education and would supply individuals better motivated for their actual careers than may be those Ph.D. graduates who do not find success as investigators. Also, the supply of Ph.D.-trained graduates would more closely approximate the foreseeable needs for such individuals. 6. The survey committee believes strongly that laboratory experience is an essential ingredient of an introductory biology course. But, across the O , v ~7 country, the laboratories dedicated to this end are equipped only for a bygone era, lacking totally the instrumentation required for work in modern biology. A national program to upgrade these teaching laboratories is highly
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS desirable; the aggregate costs will be considerable, averaging perhaps $100,000 per institution, yet a start should be made on this task at the earliest possible date. 7. Little need be said concerning the curricula of medical schools. The dissatisfaction with the standardized curriculum adopted almost five decades ago is evident in every such school. Many are now in the early stages of major experiments with curricula, and these are summarized in a growing literature. It is evident that no one solution will suffice and that each school must establish for itself the means to cope with the fact that its graduates ~^ i- ~ Brat rliv~r~i~v of medical specialties involving research, educa lion, and administration, as well as clinical practice. Meanwhile, it is the fortunate student who is the subject of such an educational experiment, since the level of faculty interest in his personal progress is at a maximum during such an experience. All. 111 ~ ,~ ~^ ~ _^V^-J ~ ~ MEDICAL STUDENTS The extended years of education and the high cost of tuition and of living presently combine to ensure that, overwhelmingly, physicians are drawn from the national upper-middle class. But the supply of physicians is in- sufficient for the nation's needs, and talent is to be found at all levels of society. If the future physician is to take his place in that society unen ~ ~ ., cumbered by the burden of severe indebtedness and great family sacrifice accumulated during his long years of training' some system of federal sti- pend support is essential. _ We urge serious consideration of a significant program of personal stipend support for medical students, probably most suitably managed by the Bureau of Health Manpower at the National Insti- tutes of Health. A stipend level equivalent to that established for graduate students, combined with a cost-of-education allowance at least sufficient to meet tuition payments, would go far to broaden the pool of American families from which we may draw future physicians, and it would encourage the physician to view his career from the standpoint of public service rather than private gain. We consider establishment of such a program much more important than the parallel decision concerning the mechanism by which it might be financed. This Committee would look with favor upon inauguration of a program of National Medical Service wherein each medical graduate ~ ~ , would serve in a civilian Medical Corps for two years, in exchange for As education. Acceptable also would be a loan program whereby such loans could be repaid, at low interest, when the physician's income tax begins to exceed some appropriate minimum. 23
24 THE LIFE SCIENCES TECHNICAL ASSISTANTS A major limitation of the national research capability is the supply of career technical assistants. We encourage the National Science Foundation, through its educational and curriculum-development program*, to assist community colleges in the design of appropriate curricula and curriculum materials for training technical personnel. The graduates of these programs should be assured of dignified, reasonably permanent positions in the lab- oratories of industry, government, and the academic world. This will require appropriate job titles and a salary scale commensurate with the contribu- tions that are made to research by truly qualified technical assistants. POSTDOCTORAL EDUCATION Each year a larger fraction of those who receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in one of the life sciences have been going on to postdoctoral educational experience. A very large percentage of these seek such experi- ence in a life science discipline other than that in which they received their graduate educations, and virtually all do so in laboratories other than those of their original research mentors, engaging in fields of research distinctly different from those in which they had originally been trained. In view of the heterogeneity and scope of the life sciences and the great differences in style and experimental approach, we believe that postdoctoral education should constitute a normal experience for any life scientist who intends to pursue a career as an investigator; we recommend that all concerned recog- nize the propriety of postdoctoral education under these circumstances. We believe that postdoctoral stipends are appropriate items to be defrayed from both research and training grants. Further, we urge expansion by at least 50 percent within four years, assuming a supply of suitably qualified appli- cants, of the regular postdoctoral-fellowship programs managed by the federal agencies presently involved. Much attention has been given to the problem of the foreign postdoctoral in American laboratories. We find little reason to be concerned. Young foreign scientists bring to American laboratories new insights and skills and participate fully in the research programs of those laboratories, making effective contributions of ideas while performing laboratory procedures and assisting in the education of their graduate-student colleagues. We urge that our nation continue to welcome such individuals to our shores and continue to find it appropriate that they be supported from our funds. But we urge further that postdoctoral appointees from developing nations be encouraged by all means possible to return to their native lands in due course so that
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 25 their own fellow citizens may reap the benefits of their educational experiences. RESEARCH SUP PORT We believe that the research-project-grant system is a remarkably successful social invention and that it should continue to serve as the backbone of the research-support system. While we have recommended above that other instruments be utilized to convey funds to be used, largely at the universi- ties, for faculty salaries, student stipends, and provision of all those services included within "indirect costs," research grants or contracts should convey those funds that, most appropriately, should be controlled by individual senior investigators- e.g., funds for equipment, research vehicles, con- sumable supplies, travel, computer costs, publication costs, and the salaries of individuals employed specifically for the purposes of the research project. We endorse the utilization of juries of qualified scientific peers for the evaluation of applications for such research support and of the qualifications of scientists making the applications. The scientific judgments made by such juries represent the best possible warranty to the tax-paying public that its funds are being utilized optimally and placed in the hands of individuals most likely to utilize such funds successfully in the prosecution of scientific research. We urge that only the scientific credentials of accomplished scien- tists be considered in selecting personnel to serve on such juries. Changes in this practice to give other qualifications for such service serious consid- eration can serve only to damage this system and destroy the confidence of the scientific community, the universities, the public, and their elected representatives in the operation of this system at a time when funds are already limited and constricting. It is all the more imperative that these limited funds be used to full advantage in the support of the most imagina- tive and important research of which the scientific community is capable, undistorted by political considerations. From the best estimate we can make, in the current year (fiscal year 19709 appropriations for research, per se, are approximately 20 percent less than required to ensure that the nation's truly qualified academic life scientists are fully and usefully engaged. We urge that this deficit be eradi- cated as soon as possible and that, thereafter' the research-support system grow at a rate commensurate with the ability of the system to utilize such funds efficiently and wisely. The frequently proposed formula of an annual increment in research support of about 12-15 percent appears to us to be a rational approximation of desirable growth as long as the system continues to expand to meet the perceived needs of society. This would accommodate
THE LIFE SCIENCES the increasing numbers of graduate and medical students, meet the in- creased costs of research due to increasing sophistication particularly notice- able in the life sciences as they lean ever more heavily on instrumentation, and compensate for the losses due to general inflation. Since graduate enroll- ments are expected almost to double in the next decade, since graduate study in the life sciences is proving attractive to an increasing number of all students interested in natural science, since a general course in the life sciences should be part of the education of all members of an enlightened citizenry, since there are 15 unstuffed medical schools now in advanced plan- ning stages and at least as many others seriously contemplated, since even these proposed medical schools will not meet the national demand for trained physicians, and since a decreased flow of physicians from the devel- oping nations could yet further aggravate the need for physicians trained in our own medical schools, generating yet further need for adequately trained faculty, it is abundantly evident that the academic endeavor in the life sci- ences must continue to expand by about 5 percent of the trained scientists per year and that employment opportunities for trained life scientists will exceed the supply for at least a decade. Since, further, we are confident that intriguing and important questions concerning the multitudinous aspects of life will continue to confront us and that the answers to these questions will be of great significance to human welfare, there will remain a broad scope for exercise of the research talents of the next generation of investigators. Expansion of the research-support system at a commensurate rate and by the mechanisms that have been suggested here seems entirely in accord with our national purpose. If tax-derived research funds are to be efficiently utilized, we consider it imperative that senior investigators be assured of the continuity of their efforts. No useful end is served by arrangements that, by accident or design, compel senior investigators, at all times, to be concerned about whether supporting research funds will be available in the following year. Research-grant awards should be of such character as to assure support for several years, conditioned only by reasonable progress and pursuit, in good faith' of the research that had been proposed, following where it leads. Whether such assurance is provided by the "moral commitment" system of the National Institutes of Health,' subject to annual budget negotiations, or by the "stepfunding" procedure of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is a matter for decision by agency administrators. FEDERAL RESEARCH-SUPPORTING AGENCIES As noted earlier, we believe that each agency with a science-based mission should both manage its own in-house research program and engage in sup- port of research relevant to its mission that is conducted in the universities
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS and in other nonprofit organizations. We regard it as unfortunate that, historically, the Department of Agriculture has not supported research in the animal and plant sciences outside of the agricultural schools and its own in-house laboratories. Collectively, the botany, zoology, and biology departments of the colleges of arts and sciences constitute a precious re- source and include a large percentage of the talented individuals who contribute to the development of animal and plant science. Accordingly, we recommend that the Department of Agriculture inaug- urate a research-grant program, analogous to that of the National Institutes of Health, with a sufficiently broad mandate to assure support of research in all germane aspects of animal and plant science. SPECIALIZED FACILITIES Our studies revealed a heartening degree of use of existing specialized biological facilities. It is evident that these requirements will become even more extensive. Our questionnaire to department chairmen, which explored their understanding of current requirements for an extensive, but by no means totally comprehensive, group of specialized biological facilities and the priorities among them, revealed that there is a substantial and growing requirement for such facilities, each of which must be managed as an institutional, regional, or national resource. Moreover, this sampling of department chairmen does not necessarily adequately reflect genuine na- tional needs. For example, a facility for experimentation in tropical agri- culture or a relatively large conservancy within or in proximity to a city or a high-technology area may not appear to be the first-priority requirement of any single life science department chairman, and yet may be an important national need that should be recognized by an appropriate federal agency. Urban spread is rapidly consuming natural areas near cities and centers of learning that are needed for research and teaching. In many instances such an area could do double duty as a recreational park; such nature reserves are most suitably funded from local resources, although potential national values should be kept in view by federal agencies. Appropriate programs that could fund the development and acquisition of such facilities already exist in the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, but they are inadequately financed to meet these requirements. We recommend that both programs be substantially expanded so that these needs may be satisfied in some measure as soon as possible. We further recommend that the Department of Agriculture in- augurate such a program with specific relation to the need for such bio- logical facilities as held areas and programmed climate-controlled rooms to facilitate the research of investigators whose studies are of high interest to the ultimate mission requirement of the department.
28 THE LIFE SCIENCES INSTRUMENTS Research in the life sciences is increasingly dependent upon complex and sensitive instrumentation, permitting a more highly specific and sophisti- cated approach to the primary problems confronting these disciplines. Yet more complex and costly instrumentation is, even now, under development. Our studies have documented the existence of a substantial backlog of requirements for the currently available major instrumentation needed for effective biological research. We recommend the establishment at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation of programs specifically designed to meet the requirements for costly and occasionally unique instrumentation. An initial combined funding goal of approximately $25 million per year is suggested. We note further that the National Aeronautics and Space Ad- ministration has developed a realm of technology utilizing new types of sensors and telemetry, frequently but not necessarily in conjunction with satellites, which could be extremely useful to diverse areas of the life sciences, particularly behavioral biology and ecology. This agency is urged to exploit these possibilities by all necessary means, including collaboration with and support of academic life scientists in positions to capitalize on these opportunities. Since these increasingly expensive instruments will generally be utilized by communities of scientists rather than by individuals, the administrators of these programs should negotiate with coherent disciplinary departments or multidisciplinary groups rather than with individual investigators. The latter should certainly still be free to justify acquisition of such instruments in their own research-grant applications where this is appropriate, but the suggested programs would permit acquisition of expensive instrumentation by groups of investigators who, collectively rather than individually, can justify expenditures on such a scale while ensuring full and efficient utiliza- tion of the instruments to be acquired. Moreover, in the long term, this approach would result in a much smaller expenditure than would the awarding of instruments to individual investigators. COMPUTERS Our study revealed a surprisingly large and diversified use of digital com- puters by the life sciences community, in which few scientists were en- countering difficulties in securing funds for this purpose. The National Institutes of Health is converting from full to partial subsidy of computer centers for use in biomedical research. As the biological community be- comes increasingly sophisticated in computer science and the uses of the
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS computer, usage will grow rapidly. We approve the altered National Insti- tutes of Health policy, believing that the justification for computer time by investigators should be built into the process of research-grant evaluation. Requests for funds to defray computer costs are certain to be a growing fraction of research budgets. Supporting agencies should recognize the propriety of such requests and be prepared to fund them. The annual bill for this activity will soon be of the order of $50 million. LABORATORIES Other than funds for the support of additional personnel, additional lab- oratory space is the primary requirement of the graduate, agricultural, and medical schools of the country and, perhaps to a lesser degree, of other professional schools such as dental, veterinary, and public-health schools. While the requirement for space continues to grow, support by federal agencies of construction of facilities has lagged seriously during the last four years. In fiscal years 1969 and 1970 no funds were appropriated under the authorization of $50 million per year for health-research facilities to the National Institutes of Health, and essentially no funds have been made available through the National Science Foundation program of graduate- research-facilities construction for the same period. Not only are new universities being brought into being and new medical schools and other health-professional schools planned and initiated, but the space require- ments of existing institutions have grown with our society's expectations for the roles of these institutions. Our studies reveal an acute backlog requirement for approximately $150 million for construction of research-laboratory space, already planned and partially funded, and required only for existing institutions to keep pace with their expanding graduate enrollments. Patently, that need would be considerably greater had we been able to estimate the real requirements of those institutions in which no plans exist for lack of matching funds the requirements for newly planned institutions or for expansion of the student population of existing medical schools. It should be clear that these state- ments relate entirely to the requirements for laboratories for research and graduate education, quite apart from the equally serious failure to provide for the formal undergraduate and professional teaching activities of the same group of institutions. We acknowledge the call on the public purse of new institutions, particu- larly the medical schools just coming into being, so that they may take their places in the educational world. But we also direct attention to the serious requirements of existing institutions, and we recommend that both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation be en
30 THE LIFE SCIENCES abled to reactivate their dormant programs in support of facility construc- tion at a rate that, between them, would provide no less than $50 million annually for the construction of laboratory facilities for research and teach- ing in the graduate departments of the life sciences and an equal sum for the research laboratories of medical schools. The planning and construction of a laboratory building consumes four to five years from inception to occupancy and utilization. Accordingly, if these programs are not inaug- urated in the reasonably near future, they will not make buildings available in time to match the urgencies that will be generated by burgeoning grad- uate and professional enrollments. Museums The natural history museums of the United States constitute an invaluable and long-neglected resource for public education and research. Seemingly remote from some of the more attention-getting areas on the frontiers of science, they have been allowed to become dusty, lonely, and inadequately curated, with their collections lagging and their buildings sagging. We recommend a vigorous program for upgrading the key museums of natural history across the country. Funds and management of such a pro- gram could be vested in either the Smithsonian Institution or the National Science Foundation. A specific program funded in the amount of about $10 million a year would be appropriate to this end. However, inauguration of such an effort should be preceded by appropriate national planning. It is unnecessary to upgrade, equivalently, all the nation's natural history museums. A plan should be developed that identifies a limited number of general museums and a group of specialized repositories, the sum of which will satisfy requirements for research in modern systematic biology and for taxonomic identification services. It is noteworthy that the latter function has been growing rapidly in volume and in importance. The National Acad- emy of Sciences should take the initiative in developing the requisite plan. Marine Biology Stations Many of the most exciting chapters in the history of biology have been written at marine biology stations, largely because of the abundant, diverse, and remarkable organisms to be found in tidal waters, on the shore, and in the waters over the continental shelf. These still present great research op- portunities, and we have yet to fashion a totally adequate scientific basis for large-scale marine agriculture. Again, however, it would be unwise to dissipate national resources by inadequate support of a substantial number
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS of stations on all three coasts of the mainland, in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and various tropical locales. A national plan identifying a network of principal laboratories with adequate representation of each major en- vironment is essential so that each may, in time, be upgraded so as to be of optimal service. As in the case of museums, this is not to deny the educa- tional roles of many other stations, but it is necessary so that a reasonable number can be equipped to serve as major research centers. Biological Information The requirements for a national information system for the life sciences are distinct but not unique. A national plan for such a system should be devel- oped, utilizing the resources of the public and private sectors, of the three mayor operating units now functioning, and of the specialized information centers. For many years, scientific journals will continue to be the primary base of an information system. But most such journals are experiencing acute financial embarrassment. A plan should be devised and a funding mechan- ism established to assist these journals in the near future, before some of them expire. Scientific meetings are an irreplaceable means of communication. Travel costs for delegates to such meetings should remain a legitimate item in research budgets. The recommendations above, in our view, constitute a measured evalu- ation of the overall requirements to maintain the life sciences enterprise in the United States in the forefront of the worldwide scientific endeavor, to educate the next generation of citizens, scientists, and practitioners, and to construct the intellectual platform that will underlie future improvements in our public health, permit expansion of the economy, provide an adequate and wholesome food supply, and transmit to our progeny a bountiful land whose natural beauty and resources have been preserved and enhanced.