EDITORIAL

Building Better Institutions

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Science  05 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6141, pp. 10
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242307

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Summary

What is the best way to promote innovative research? How can we build research institutions of the future that will promote cross-disciplinary interactions among young creative minds? Despite the recent growth in scientific knowledge, conventional disciplinebased methods have not been sufficiently effective at developing new understanding and treatments. Researchers need to be encouraged to identify important questions and tackle them with multidisciplinary approaches. Contemporary biomedical research has to integrate biological, nonbiological, and clinical disciplines, and its application requires interactions with hospital and commercial partners. This can be facilitated by research institutions with an environment that supports strong interdisciplinary interactions between scientists: a place where laboratory biologists are encouraged to collaborate with clinical researchers to understand the medical implications of their work, with pharmaceutical companies for the translation of discoveries into treatments, and with physical scientists to expand their thinking and repertoire of experimental approaches. Such an institution must be continually open to new ideas and permeable to interactions with outside researchers and organizations.