The initial planned activities of the ERBC are as follows:
Serve as catalyst and voice of the field
Through its retreats and workshops, the EBRC will establish itself as the “go to” organization for any person, agency or institution seeking input or focused attention from the engineering biology community. EBRC will convene a sufficiently large number of participants to ensure that the EBRC reflects and speaks for the broader community. This will include academic and industrial researchers from a range of biotechnology sectors, social scientists, educators, government agencies, and community stakeholders.
Create visions and roadmaps for engineering biology
The EBRC will develop a vision- and goal-setting program to assess the current state of engineering biology; global challenges for which it might be deployed; gaps in technology requiring research and development; gaps in workforce development requiring new or better education and training programs; and gaps in communication and policy requiring new or better models and policies.
Transform visions and roadmaps into funded activities
It is our hope that ideas generated through EBRC activities will be transformed into funded programs at Federal and state agencies, foundations, and other such institutions and sources. We will implement procedures to ensure follow-through on community vision- and goal-setting activities beyond the completion of workshop reports toward a funded research program.
Catalyze research teams to address critical needs
As funding opportunities become available, EBRC will bring together a diverse group of researchers to apply for that funding. Most, if not all, of these researchers will be identified through the workshops. EBRC will facilitate collaborations, and proposals will be submitted through the researchers’ home institutions. EBRC will apply for infrastructure grants, but it will primarily function to support its members and their institutions to obtain funding for critical initiatives.
Create resources to fill key educational and workforce needs
EBRC will work with existing education efforts to address key education, workforce, and diversity needs identified in the vision- and goal-setting process. EBRC will also identify and work to secure additional funding to bring together educators to develop new education materials, media of all types, and programs that address those needs. An emphasis of the EBRC education program will be to make engineering biology education and training resources available to underserved and/or under-resourced institutions.
Inculcate values of leadership and service
The development of next-generation leaders in synthetic biology is crucial. The EBRC will work with organizations such as LEAP (the Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program) to foster leadership in advancing responsible practices and promoting the development of the next generation of leaders in the synthetic biology community. We will provide opportunities for practitioners to exercise leadership and impact the trajectory of the field, as well as professional development in areas such as communication, engaging public and policy stakeholders, framing problems, and developing solutions.