Biological Resource Centers
Knowledge Hubs for the Life Sciences
AUTHOR: Stern, Scott
PUBLISHER: Brookings Institution Press
Also available at Amazon.com
Biological resource centers (BRCs)collect, certify, and distribute organisms for use in research and in the development ofcommercial products in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biotechnology industries. Theymaintain a large and varied collection, including cell lines, micro-organisms, recombinantDNA material, biological media and reagents, and the information technology tools that allowresearchers to access biological materials. BRCs have established themselves as a crucialelement in the life science innovation infrastructure, from their early impact on virology,to their crucial role in addressing cross-culture contamination in the 1970s, to theircurrent leadership in promoting a global biodiversity network. Today they confront newchallenges, resulting from shifts in the nature of biological research, the interactionbetween public and private researchers, and the increasing focus on biosecurity. This bookprovides a systematic economic assessment of the impact of biological resource centersthrough their role in facilitating cumulative knowledge in the life sciences and building ontheir roles as knowledge hubs -institutions that facilitate the transfer of scientific andtechnical knowledge among members of a research community. The knowledge hubs frameworkoffers insight into how to develop and evaluate policy proposals that impinge on the controland access of biological materials. Stern argues that science and innovation policy must bepremised on a clear understanding of the role that knowledge hubs play and the policymechanisms that encourage their sustained growth and effectiveness.
PUBLICATION DATE: 11/30/2004