NRC Calls for 10 Yr “New Biology” Initiative

NRC has proposed in a report -“A New Biology for the 21st Century: Ensuring the United States Leads the Coming Biology Revolution” –  spending at least 10 years and expanding federal biology funding to use the massive amounts of data generated from recent biological advances in an interdisciplinary and interagency initiative.  This initiative would integrate computer science, physics, engineering, chemistry, mathematics, and other sciences to address issues of global concern.  The intent  is to accelerate new breakthroughs that could solve some of society’s most pressing problems — particularly in the areas of food, environment, energy, and health science.

“A new biology initiative would be a daring addition to the nation’s research portfolio, but we believe the potential benefits are remarkable and far-reaching,” Phillip Sharp, who is institute professor for the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-chair on the committee that wrote the report, said in a statement.

“We need to set big goals, and let the problems drive the science,” added Thomas Connelly, Sharp’s fellow committee co-chair and an executive VP at E.I. DuPont de Nemours.

The committee of 16 biology, engineering, and computational scientists said that they developed these ‘new biology’ notions after asking a number of questions about how to use new advances in biology, particularly advances that generate massive amounts of data with “largely unanticipated payoffs,” such as the Human Genome Project.