We tried in our chapter to capture the trajectory of the decline in
research funding as it relates to the biomedical research enterprise,
and discuss the implications of that with regard to what operating
models might be effective in this current era. Writing the chapter gave
us an opportunity to develop a more granular understanding and to
comprehensively update ourselves around a lot of data with which we
I think the most important takeaway message is that we need to
restructure and reorganize the way that we think about biomedical
research. Some of the historical mechanisms used to sustain that activity
are no longer relevant. We need to think about a series of new concepts.
Some of this has to do with the structure and support of the enterprise.
In addition, we also need to investigate new concepts around the way
we encourage, incentivize, and reward investigators as they seek and
find financial support—both individually and, more likely in the future,
collaboratively. And then, how does one think about the faculty as able
to meet the tripartite mission, and what does one do in thinking about
building the faculty of the future, given that it will be different than that
of the past.
Whether and how what we learned is applicable to other institutions is
going to be variable. But some of the tenets that we espoused are not
unique to our organization. In some cases, some of the principles we
discussed can be readily adopted. In other cases, our principles might
be a little more challenging to adopt, depending on some of the legacy,
historical, and cultural issues at given institutions.
It is always productive to work with colleagues to try to frame an
understanding of the depth of a problem that you confront regularly,
and have in that time the ability to reflect on it in a more systematic and
comprehensive way. I believe these exercises are important for all of us in
the academy, especially as we try to do more with less.
Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
Executive Dean of the Schoolof Medicine
Georgetown University Medical Center