HarrisCom Group Consults on MIT Convergence Report, 2016
|June 23, 2016||Posted by Anharris under HarrisCom News, Health, Highlight 2, Innovation, Life Science, Technology|
Anita Harris and Linda Grace Kobas of the Harris Communications Group played key roles in the writing and editing of “Convergence: the Future of Health,” a report released today by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Convergence report is aimed at accelerating a “Convergence Revolution,” in which the tools, technologies, methods and insights of physical sciences, information technology and engineering are increasingly being employed in the life sciences to transform biomedicine, promising to enhance human health and well-being.
The Convergence report was chaired by Susan Hochfield, former president of MIT and a neuroscientist; Tyler Jacks, Director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT; and Nobel Prize Laureate Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at MIT.
“It was a privilege to work with such a brilliant team on a project that holds the potential to transform biomedicine in the US,” Harris said.
The Convergence report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government. It includes a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.
As Sharp explained, “Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue. Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary source of research funding for biomedical science in the United States. In 2015, only 3 percent of all principal investigators funded by NIH were from departments of engineering, bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or mathematics. Accordingly, the report calls for increasing NIH funding for Convergence research to at least 20 percent of the agency’s budget.
Harris, aided by MIT graduate and post doctoral students, wrote the sections covering education and policy; a second author, Al Hammond, a former editor at Science Magazine, wrote the scientific and technical sections. Linda Grace-Kobas, former Cornell University News Director and a member of the Harris Communications Group, served as copy editor. Kate Stoll of the MIT Washington office was the project manager.
A forum on “Convergence: the Future of Health” will be held at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, DC, on Friday, June 24.
The report is available at http://www.convergencerevolution.net/2016-report .
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA. Managing Director Anita M. Harris is a former journalist who covered health, science and technology for the MacNeil/Lehrer Report (now the NewsHour) of PBS. Linda Grace Kobas, also a former science journalist, served for many years as the Cornell University News Director