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NIBIB News & Events
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Interagency Workshop on Research at the Interface
of the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences
May 10, 2004

On May 10, 2004, an "Interagency Workshop on Research at the Interface of the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences" was held in Room 6C6 of Building 31 on the NIH Main Campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The meeting was held in response to language in the House reports accompanying the FY2004 Labor-Health and Human Services (L-HHS) and Veterans Affairs - Housing and Urban Development – Independent Agency (VA-HUD-IA) Appropriations Bills that (1) recognized the value of applying principles and methods from the physical sciences to address problems in the life sciences and (2) mandated that the NIH and NSF coordinate an inter-agency meeting on research at the interface of the life and physical sciences to discuss how Federal agencies can effectively facilitate this research.

The meeting was coordinated by the NIH's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), and National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Ten Federal agencies with interests in the life sciences (biology and medicine) and/or the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and computer sciences) were represented including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, and United States Department of Agriculture. A total of about 60 people attended this workshop including two primary representatives for each of the ten agencies. The meeting was chaired by Drs. Roderic Pettigrew (NIBIB), Jeremy Berg (NIGMS), and Lawrence Tabak (NIDCR). The NSF was represented by Drs. Denise Caldwell and Bruce Hamilton.

The agenda consisted of plenary presentations and interactive sessions with three main objectives:

  1. To demonstrate that there are already (a) successful collaborative inter-agency efforts at the interface of the physical and life sciences and (b) activities aimed at identifying issues an challenges for future collaborations,
  2. To identify barriers and opportunities to inter-agency collaborations involving the physical and life sciences, and
  3. To develop courses of action to validate the barriers and opportunities and to address those identified during the workshop.

The following text provides links to (l) the meeting agenda, (2) a list of agency representatives, (3) PowerPoint files for the ten agency perspectives, and (4) PowerPoint files for the case studies on successful interagency collaborations presented at the workshop. A report describing the results of the workshop will be posted on this Web site in the near future.

Agency Perspectives:
Case Studies: