Annual Meeting 2014 - Translating Basic Science into Products

Translating Basic Science into Products and the Role of Diversity in Making that Happen

Joseph DeSimone, PhD, Director, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise; Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry, UNC

Those of us who participate in convergence science know how extensive and difficult the challenges are to executing it. Beyond pursuing scientific problems through research, we are faced with questions about advocacy, public policy changes, restructuring funding systems, peer review and tenure issues, and other administrative—and crucially important—questions about the structures in which we operate as academic scientists. These questions are vast and aren't associated with any discipline in particular, and I believe the approach to addressing them would be best informed by joining a diverse range of perspectives.

As scientists, we may be doing ourselves a disservice by not being more deliberate in drawing others who are not scientists into our conversations about convergence. Indeed, when solving scientific problems, I have found in my career that the best, most innovative solutions arise from diverse teams composed of talented individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. In this context, I will share my perspective about how diversity should be considered for our ongoing dialogue about convergence science in the 21st century.