University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Big Question: Building the Research Innovation Pipeline in Biosciences

University of Chicago Big Questions

Principal Investigator: Marsha Rosner, Cancer Research; Julian Solway, Medicine

Funding Type: Workshop

Focus Area: Information

Big Idea: There is a growing body of scholarship that shows a positive relationship between increases in collaboration, the intellectual diversity of collaborators, and innovation. Yet, the departmental/divisional structure can create a significant barrier to collaboration across academic disciplines. Moreover, the prevailing culture of academic/scientific inquiry stresses a siloed approach that encourages increasing refinement and narrowing of the investigative focus with less diversity of thought. Finally, most established sources of research funding reinforce this model by rewarding the least risky, most clearly defined advances, favoring incremental gains in knowledge at the cost of novel, breakthrough discovery. We will explode this construct by creating an innovation pipeline. We will bring together outstanding academics from a diversity of disciplines around large, complex problems; engage them in brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas and approaches to solve those problems; then further refine these ideas in rigorous, multi‐day workshops. Finally, we will leverage the seed funding resources of the UChicago to bring these nascent ideas to a proof-of‐concept phase, making these innovative solutions competitive for more traditional external funding.

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