Tag Archives: research funding

Piper Promotes: Science Exchange

Science Exchange LogoHave you ever struggled to complete and experiment or that last piece of your publication puzzle because you couldn’t find the right expertise or instrument at your institution and didn’t know where to turn? This problem is becoming increasingly common as science becomes more interdisciplinary and every paper becomes more comprehensive. It is an issue that the founders of Science Exchange seek to alleviate. Science Exchange is an online Science Services Marketplace that manages the purchase of research services, vets service providers, and works with researchers to find the exact provider for their experimental needs.
Science Exchange was founded by Elizabeth Iorns, Dan Knox, and Ryan Abbott in May 2011 to open up access to expertise and instruments and improve the reproducibility of published science. They believe that through outsourcing particular scientific experiments to a research expert in that field, the science reported will stand up to the test of reproducibility more frequently. Without focusing on too many areas of science at the same time, more quality science can be accomplished and individual researchers can accomplish more.

The cutting edge in modern organ transplantation, from livers to faces

Richard Norris was recently the recipient of the most extensive face transplant ever performed. He was injured over 15 years ago in a shooting accident that caused tremendous damage to his jaw structure, nose, and tongue. After 36 hours of surgery, Mr. Norris now has an entirely new face, including a new jaw, new teeth, a new tongue, and a new nose. He is even shaving his new beard.

Mr. Norris’ surgery was funded by the U.S. Navy. In recent years, the military has invested substantially in reconstructive medicine, funding scores of face and hand transplants on civilians. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of recent war veterans who have returned home with severe facial wounds and countless more amputees. The hope for the military is that extreme transplant surgeries for faces and limbs will soon be available for these military veterans as well.

Bell Labs, an academic paradise?

Those of you who are well-versed in the history of science and technology have probably heard of Bell Labs, especially if you’re an electrical engineering student like me. For most of the 20th century, Bell Labs was firmly positioned at the cutting edge of technological innovation — so much so that one might even say that it was the cutting edge. You don’t have to take my word for it; just scan through a list of its 10 most important innovations. Recognize any of them?

I bring this up because last weekend, the New York Times ran a fascinating article about the legendary institution. The author, Jon Gertner, argues that Bell Labs embodied an organizational model for innovation that is different and in some ways better than today’s model (Bell Labs is no longer active in the basic sciences). Whereas today’s “innovative” companies are set up to churn out incrementally differentiated consumer products faster than their competitors (Gertner is pointing at you, app developers), Bell Labs was set up to achieve the types of huge technological leaps that required years or decades of concentrated efforts by the world’s top scientists. Much of what we perceive as modern technological progress really stems from these great advances.

Advanced manufacturing: Here, there, and everywhere

Little did I know that I am a pawn in a giant winner-takes-all chess match that has been playing out between the U.S. and China over the last decade or so. If you are a Berkeley grad student in engineering or science, there’s a pretty good chance you are, too.

At least, that’s one of the impressions I came away with after attending yesterday’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Regional Meeting here on campus. The public workshop — organized by both Berkeley and Stanford — served as a brainstorming session for ways to shape the recently announced AMP program, a $500 million initiative created to revitalize America’s manufacturing sector. The lineup of speakers and panelists included numerous VIP’s from industry, government, and academia who expressed their commitment to implementing solutions to the decline of manufacturing in the U.S. through AMP.