[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2012, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) engaged the scientific community to provide a vision for cancer epidemiology in the 21st century. Eight overarching thematic recommendations, with proposed corresponding actions for consideration by funding agencies, professional societies, and the research community emerged from the collective intellectual discourse. The themes are (i) extending the reach of epidemiology beyond discovery and etiologic research to include multilevel analysis, intervention evaluation, implementation, and outcomes research; (ii) transforming the practice of epidemiology by moving towards more access and sharing of protocols, data, metadata, and specimens to foster collaboration, to ensure reproducibility and replication, and accelerate translation; (iii) expanding cohort studies to collect exposure, clinical and other information across the life course and examining multiple health-related endpoints; (iv) developing and validating reliable methods and technologies to quantify exposures and outcomes on a massive scale, and to assess concomitantly the role of multiple factors in complex diseases; (v) integrating "big data" science into the practice of epidemiology; (vi) expanding knowledge integration to drive research, policy and practice; (vii) transforming training of 21st century epidemiologists to address interdisciplinary and translational research; and (viii) optimizing the use of resources and infrastructure for epidemiologic studies. These recommendations can transform cancer epidemiology and the field of epidemiology in general, by enhancing transparency, interdisciplinary collaboration, and strategic applications of new technologies. They should lay a strong scientific foundation for accelerated translation of scientific discoveries into individual and population health benefits.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 1972 the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle Washington opened it’s doors, and, in a few short decades, developed from the dreams of its founders into one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutes. This record of accomplishment was not underwritten by a major philanthropic endowment, nor driven primarily by high profile celebrity leadership. This Perspective generalizes from one cornerstone of the success of that adventure, the nurturing of a widely admired and effective scientific culture, to describe some principles of scientific program development illustrated in particular cases by the success of the FHCRC. I define two alternative organizing paradigms for developing research activity at biomedical research institutions and compare the implications of each of each across spectrum of elements that comprise the operating structure of the enterprise.
Faculty-based development is driven by the perceived talent and productivity of individual independent faculty members within broad goals for the group and institution. The specific program of selected faculty is secondary. Areas of research concentration are targeted by faculty interest. Faculty members are grouped in broad scientific categories conducive to spontaneous intellectual interaction and collaboration. Governance is a shared responsibility, which includes selection and career development of faculty by peer review.
Program-driven development is focused on specific and more narrowly defined problems or fields lead by senior scientists. Programs are strongly vertically integrated, are specific goal oriented and frequently emphasize team rather than individual research. Selection and retention of research faculty is made by program heads to meet specific technical and intellectual needs and program goals
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