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American Academy Calls for Reorganization of the U.S. Scientific Enterprise to Meet 21st Century Challenges


Press Release

A new report from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences offers recommendations for academia, government agencies, and the private sector to help maintain America’s leadership in science, technology, and medicine.

The report, ARISE II: Unleashing America’s Research & Innovation Enterprise, highlights the need for greater synergy between government, university, and industry research. It advocates for greater integration of theories, concepts, and applications from multiple scientific disciplines – biology, physics, medicine, engineering, and computer science – to solve the complex problems of the 21st century.

“Scientific and technological innovation has been vital to the economic prosperity and security of the United States,” said Leslie Berlowitz, President of the American Academy, “yet there is growing concern that the nation risks losing its position of global technological leadership. ARISE II examines the factors affecting America’s productivity in science and technology and suggests steps to encourage transdisciplinary and trans-sector research collaborations.”

ARISE II committee member Richard Scheller, Executive Vice President for Research and Early Development at Genentech, Inc., stressed the importance of this objective, saying, “The ARISE II report outlines a path forward to fully achieve the potential for interdisciplinary research. The report also presents a road map to optimize cooperation between academia, government, and industry. The recommendations should be implemented so our society can take full advantage of the scientific potential at hand.”

Key recommendations include:

  • Shift from interdisciplinary to transdisciplinary: develop and foster a massive “knowledge network” to focus disparate expertise and approaches on problems of common interest;

  • Promote cooperative, synergistic interactions among academia, government and the private sector throughout the discovery and development process;

  • Set new priorities for the technology transfer function between academia and industry with the explicit goal of maximizing exchanges of knowledge, resources, and people;

  • Enhance permeability between industry and academia at all career stages; and

  • Develop and implement new models for research alliances between academia and industry.

The study was co-chaired by Venkatesh Narayanamurti (Harvard University) and Keith Yamamoto (University of California, San Francisco).The project committee includes many of the nation’s preeminent scientists and policy leaders from government, academia and business.

ARISE II is available for download at

The Academy released its first ARISE report, Advancing Research in Science and Engineering: Investing in Early-Career Scientists and High-Risk, High Reward Research, in 2008.

About the American Academy of Arts & Sciences: Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ( is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on the humanities, arts, and higher education; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs from around the world.


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