Past Event

Workshop on Key Challenges in the Implementation of Convergence

September 16, 2013 - September 17, 2013

Location: National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW Washington DC 20418

There have been numerous reports that highlight the importance of cross-cutting research in addressing key challenges in the biological sciences and fostering research and innovation. The workshop will gather practitioners who embody or seek to embody convergent and transdisciplinary research in their laboratories and organizations, leaders from academia and industry, and representatives of foundations and agencies to discuss strategies they have implemented to achieve this vision, what pitfalls were encountered, and what practical lessons have been learned. Following the workshop, the committee will distill its key messages, conclusions, and recommendations into a report that seeks to provide useful guidance for the community.

Registration for this workshop is now closed and space is full. Please contact Carl Anderson, Board on Life Sciences, for further information.

Workshop Presentations



  • Joseph DeSimone (NAS, NAE), Committee Chair, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University
  • Ralph Cicerone (NAS), President, National Academy of Sciences
  • C. D. Mote, Jr. (NAE), President, National Academy of Engineering
  • Thomas Kalil, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Harvey Fineberg (IOM), President, Institute of Medicine


Recognizing Emerging Areas of Science at the Convergence Interface

  • Phillip Sharp (NAS, IOM), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Establishing Background and Introduction to the Examples of Convergent and Transdisciplinary Science

Fostering Convergence in the Real World
How can the goals of convergence translate into practical results, i.e., what have groups and organizations specifically done to support and foster convergence-enabled science?  What has worked well and what has not worked as well? Speakers representing several different perspectives will provide brief snapshots of what they did, what challenges they faced, and what they learned.

Key Organizational Structures and Needs
Chair: Timothy Galitski, EMD Millipore Corporation and Institute for Systems Biology

  • Carla Schatz (NAS, IOM), Bio-X, Stanford University
  • Anna Barker, Transformative Healthcare Networks and Complex Adaptive Systems Network, Arizona State University
  • Susan Singer, Carleton College and National Science Foundation

Faculty Issues
Chair: Cato Laurencin
, (NAE, IOM), University of Connecticut

  • Fernando Martinez, Bio5 Institute, University of Arizona
  • Donald Ingber (IOM), Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University
  • Gerald Rubin (NAS, IOM) Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Challenges of Convergent Thinking and Innovation
Chair: Carol Folt, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Education and Training
Chair: Lynne Regan, Yale University

Inter-Institutional Arrangements and Partnerships
Chair: Sharon Glotzer, University of Michigan

  • Bruce Walker (IOM), Ragon Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University
  • David Canter, North Campus Research Complex, University of Michigan
  • Regis Kelly, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), University of California

Share your Thoughts with the Committee

The committee welcomes your thoughts on factors and practices that you feel have had positive or negative impacts on fostering convergence in your own organizations. Three slides discussed during the final workshop session summarize some of the essential characteristics for successful convergence, barriers to convergence, and ideas for solutions that could be implemented on a steady state budget.  The committee particularly seeks community input:
·         To add additional ideas to the list of potential low cost or steady-state budget strategies
·         To add comments or further suggestions to the list of barriers to convergence, including whether you have encountered any of these barriers
Comments may be sent directly to Katherine Bowman, Board on Life Sciences.



All comments you submit to the committee, including your name and identifying information, will be made available to the public through the public access file for this project. The National Academies shall be authorized to use any such comments or submissions in accordance with the National Academies’ Terms of Use Statement.


Committee on Key Challenge Areas for Convergence and Health

Joseph M. DeSimone, Chair, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University

Timothy Galitski, EMD Millipore Corporation and Institute for Systems Biology

James M. Gentile, Hope College

Sharon C. Glotzer, University of Michigan

Susan J. Hockfield, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Julie Thompson Klein, Wayne State University

Cato T. Laurencin, University of Connecticut

Cherry A. Murray, Harvard University

Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Northwestern University

Nicholas A. Peppas, University of Texas at Austin

Lynne J. Regan, Yale University

David J. Roessner, SRI International


For further information about the project, please contact Carl Anderson, Board on Life Sciences.

About this Event

Organizing Body:

Committee on Key Challenge Areas for Convergence and Health

Primary Board:

Board on Life Sciences


Carl-Gustav Anderson,