Essay

Creating a robust research enterprise

Wes Sundquist Benjamin Corb
By Wes Sundquist and Benjamin Corb
September 01, 2016

More than two years ago, the Public Affairs Advisory Committee at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology began focusing time and effort on identifying systemic problems facing the scientific research community. Funding, or lack thereof, obviously has added considerable stress, but other issues also need to be addressed to optimize the effectiveness and sustainability of the biomedical research enterprise. We’ve written about these efforts in the “News from the Hill” columns in ASBMB Today, researched scholarly works by luminaries in the research community and published our findings in a scientific publication. In addition, in February, the PAAC hosted a multiday summit to identify what the scientific community can do to improve itself and the future of the field that we love.

In the columns published in ASBMB Today and the Policy Blotter, the PAAC’s blog, we’ve shared with the community our thoughts and experiences regarding how best to ensure into the future a robust and sustained biomedical research enterprise. We’ve formed partnerships with organizations that have complementary interests, such as Rescuing Biomedical Research (now directed by former ASBMB policy analyst Christopher Pickett) and the Future of Research. We’ve identified a series of recommendations for improving the research enterprise that are specific and enjoy broad support within our community; we are taking actions to ensure that these recommendations are achieved.

In the following months, essays by different PAAC members and our partners will appear in ASBMB Today, describing the actions we’re promoting and explaining their underlying rationales. For example, we’ll discuss the importance of optimizing the roles of staff scientists in the future, the merits of standardizing postdoctoral positions, and the best approaches for defining what a sustainable enterprise looks like and setting research funding levels to achieve sustainability.

With these essays, our goal is to explain what we are doing and to open conversations with our colleagues. We acknowledge that many of the issues are complex and that we may disagree on the wisdom of specific steps or actions. However, we are confident that we all agree that the American biomedical research enterprise is so important that we must pursue activities that will help to sustain our field well into the future.

Wes Sundquist
Wes Sundquist

Wes Sundquist is chairman of the ASBMB PAAC and co-chair of the department of biochemistry at the University of Utah.

Benjamin Corb

Benjamin Corb is director of public affairs at ASBMB.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in Policy

Policy highlights or most popular articles

Why hoarding of hydroxychloroquine needs to stop
News

Why hoarding of hydroxychloroquine needs to stop

March 28, 2020

Some old antimalarial drugs are becoming harder to get in the United States, partly because President Donald Trump has touted them as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Share your thoughts on remote study sections
Blotter

Share your thoughts on remote study sections

March 25, 2020

Are you serving on a grant-review panel from afar? We want to know how your experience is going.

FIRM Act would require some foreign scientists to register as foreign agents
Blotter

FIRM Act would require some foreign scientists to register as foreign agents

March 12, 2020

If enacted, this legislation would affect some foreign scientists collaborating with U.S. scientists on federally funded research.

Lawmakers press FBI and NIH  on research-integrity investigations
Blotter

Lawmakers press FBI and NIH on research-integrity investigations

February 26, 2020

U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Judy Chu, D-Calif., sent the NIH and FBI letters asking about the agencies’ investigations into scientists with ties to China.

Congress passes, considers bills promoting diversity in STEM
Blotter

Congress passes, considers bills promoting diversity in STEM

February 19, 2020

The Building Blocks of STEM Act creates and expands STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation. Other pending legislation would boost minority-serving institutions.

Meet Sarina Neote
Blotter

Meet Sarina Neote

February 19, 2020

As the ASBMB’s science policy manager, she advocates for policies that strengthen the scientific workforce and promote an inclusive environment that is supportive of discovery.