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This book expands the debate on the future of science and technology at the Curious2018 – Future Insight Conference, held on the occasion of Merck’s 350-year anniversary. In the respective chapters, some of the world’s top scientists, managers and entrepreneurs explore breakthrough technologies and how they can be applied to make a better world for humanity.

Divided into three parts, the book begins with an introduction to the vision of the conference and to the importance of curiosity for innovation, while also exploring the latest scientific developments that are shaping the future of healthcare, medicine, the life and material sciences, digitalization and new ways of working together. In the second part, particular attention is paid to new therapies and diagnostics; here, readers will learn how synthetic biology and chemistry are being used to solve problems that are essential to the future of humanity. The role of in-silico research is also discussed. In the final part of the book, readers will find some thoughts on ethical principles guiding our application of science and technology to create a bright future for humanity.

Given its interdisciplinary appeal, the book will inspire curiosity in a wide readership, from scholars and researchers to professionals with an interest in exploring the future of science and technology, solving the problems of today, and paving the way for a better tomorrow.

Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 17 are available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License via link.springer.com.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Correction to: Curious2018

Due to a publisher error in the original version of the book, the following corrections have been incorporated:
The original versions of chapters 1, 2, 3, and 17 were inadvertently published as non-open access. They have now been changed to open access with the copyright holder name “The Author(s)”. The book has also been updated with these changes.
Ulrich A. K. Betz

Creating a Better World with Science and Technology

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. Further Pushing the Boundaries of Possibility

Abstract
It’s been quite some time since I worked in a laboratory as a scientist. Since then, my professional career has taken me on a very interesting journey. Yet, even after decades in executive management positions, I still enjoy leaving office and conference rooms behind to interact directly with researchers, whether in their laboratories or at conferences. Science still fascinates and amazes me. That is why the Curious 2018 Future Insight Conference was truly special for me.
Stefan Oschmann

Open Access

Chapter 2. Building a Better World with Science and Technology: Curious Future Insight

Abstract
Merck, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company and a vibrant leader in science and technology, celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2018. On this occasion, a comprehensive program around science and technology was put together to help create a bright future. Key highlights of this program were the Curious – Future Insight Conference, the Future Insight Prize and the 350th Anniversary Research Grants.
Ulrich A. K. Betz

Open Access

Chapter 3. Future Insight Prize—From Dream to Reality

Abstract
The Merck Future Insight Prize rolled-out at the occasion of Merck’s 350th anniversary is designed to stimulate innovative solutions to solve some of humanities biggest problems and to help realize the dreams of a better tomorrow. The Future Insight Prize puts the vision for ambitious dream products of global importance for humankind into the world and triggers curiosity and creativity worldwide on how to make this vision a reality with an annual research grant of up to 1mio€.
Ulrich A. K. Betz

Chapter 4. Curious2018—Future Insight

Abstract
A report from an innovative conference that aimed to create a new future—not just predict one.
Ulrich A. K. Betz

Chapter 5. The Darmstadt Science Declaration—Make Science not War

Abstract
The Science Declaration is a global call to action to devote more resources to the advancement of science & technology. This will enable humanity to solve the challenges of today and to realize the dreams of a better tomorrow. Everybody is cordially invited to sign this declaration at make-science-not-war.org.
Ulrich A. K. Betz

Science and Technology at Its Best—Examples from Curious2018 Future Insight Conference Keynote Speakers

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Integrating Modern Immunology into Medicine

Abstract
The field of immunology is undergoing a seismic shift, from a predominant focus on inbred mice, and relatively poorly predictive models of human diseases, to new paradigms and methods to analyze human diseases directly. Thus, it should become a much more significant factor in medical practice, where it is currently not considered seriously outside of a few specialities such as oncology and rheumatology.
Mark M. Davis, Robert M. DiFazio

Chapter 7. The Changing Landscape for New Drug Development: Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) as a Case Study

Abstract
This chapter is comprised of materials adapted from previous publications authored by the Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University School of Medicine (Tufts CSDD) over a ten-year period from 2010 through 2019. In addition, there are occasional infusions of updated commentary to “connect the dots” of how we got to where we are today. These publications may be requested from Tufts CSDD (if originally published in-house) or through the usual channels for requesting articles published in the public domain (permission to reprint the articles having been granted, where required). The text of the chapter is structured basically in a chronological fashion beginning with Tufts CSDD analysis of the early era of MCM evolution as a sub-sector from various extant therapeutic areas. It then chronicles the changes to the R&D paradigm in response to the challenges that emerged for both MCMs and biopharma in general. Finally, it ends with an exploration of the devolution of the MCM sub-sector back into its roots in the infectious disease area as an increase in actual outbreaks as well as other signals of global vulnerability to pandemic threats have minimized the MCM emphasis on biodefense against a wide range of CBRN agents in favor of public health tactics to address humankind’s maladaptation to a world in which it is constantly assailed by its microbial competitors and symbionts, or to novel public health crises of its own making.
Christopher-Paul Milne

Chapter 8. In the Face of Global Health Challenges—Let’s Redefine Innovation

Abstract
Innovation in the pharmaceutical industry yields immense social good when it aims to address fundamental global health challenges. However, millions worldwide lack access to these innovations and continue to die from preventable and treatable diseases. Without universal patient access, the value of innovative products is diminished because their ability to generate positive health outcomes is restricted. In conjunction with product innovation, a parallel track of innovation in access is needed. Steps are proposed for adopting a more access-oriented approach to innovation.
Subhanu Saxena, Ian B. Wilcox

Chapter 9. Neglected Parasitic Infections and the Syndemic Anemia Vaccines for Africa

Abstract
Today, malaria, schistosomiasis, and human hookworm infection comprise three of the most common parasitic diseases on the African continent. These neglected parasitic infections also represent important threats to maternal–child health in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly because they cause profound anemia. Malaria, schistosomiasis, and hookworm infection each cause severe anemia, but they are also co-endemic or syndemic and produce additive effects when occurring simultaneously in a single individual, especially a child or pregnant woman. In young children, the combined anemia from these parasitic infections can lead to permanent neurologic deficits, while in pregnant women they are linked to high maternal morbidity and mortality and decreased infant survival. While mass treatments for malaria, schistosomiasis, and human hookworm infection have led to some reductions in maternal–child morbidities in Africa, it is unlikely this approach alone will remain sustainable due to high rates of post-treatment reinfections and other factors, including variable efficacies of the currently available drugs, as well as the prospect of emerging resistance. As complementary or synergistic approaches, there are ongoing efforts to develop vaccines for malaria, human hookworm infection, and schistosomiasis. These biotechnologies would represent innovative approaches to reducing or halting maternal–child health anemia in Africa. Mosquirix is the first malaria vaccine licensed for Africa, while vaccines for schistosomiasis and human hookworm infection are each entering their proof of concept for efficacy in phase 2 clinical trials. New public–private strategic alliances, including the one formed between Merck and Baylor College of Medicine and its international vaccine product development partnership (PDP), the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development (Texas Children’s CVD), to advance the schistosomiasis vaccine, will be essential to help accelerate vaccine research and development for neglected and emerging infections. These types of partnerships will also require innovative financial instruments to address traditional market failures, allowing licensing and the introduction of anti-parasitic disease vaccines for Africa.
Peter J. Hotez, Ulrich Strych, Maria Elena Bottazzi

Chapter 10. Out of Curiosity from Blue Sky Research to Medical Innovation

Abstract
Curiosity, the intrinsic urge to know and to find out more about whatever has caught our mind, seems to be laid down in our DNA. Much has been written about the evolution and the forces that drove human evolution. We cannot repeat the experiment, but try to imagine human mankind without the trait called “Curiosity”? This trait seems to be closely associated with genes related to the dopamine and the dopamine receptor system, which in turn we know is connected to personality traits such as novelty-seeking, exploration behavior, risk-taking, or reward-expectancy and, on a more darker side, addiction.
Rudi Balling

Chapter 11. From Diagnosing Diseases to Predicting Diseases

Abstract
Chronic diseases can be considered as perturbations of complex adaptive systems. Transitions from healthy states to chronic diseases are often characterized by sudden and unexpected onset of diseases. These critical transitions or catastrophic shifts have been studied in theoretical and applied physics, ecology, social science, economics and recently also in biomedical applications. If we could understand the underlying mechanisms and the dynamics of critical transitions involved in the development of diseases, we would be better equipped to predict and eventually prevent them from arising. The current paper gives an overview of the potential application of the concept of critical transitions to biomedical applications.
Rudi Balling, Jorge Goncalves, Stefano Magni, Laurent Mombaerts, Alice Oldano, Alexander Skupin

Chapter 12. Colloidal Quantum Materials for Photocatalytic Applications

Abstract
Colloidal quantum materials are nanocrystals containing hundreds to thousands of atoms that exhibit unique properties resulting from their small finite dimensions. The extraordinary flexibility in tuning their properties via composition, size- and dimensionality-related quantum confinement effects and surface engineering combined with their scalable bottom-up manufacturing has already led to their commercialization in different light-emitting applications, such as materials for displays and as fluorescent agents for imaging and sensing. Beyond light emission, harnessing absorbed light energy to perform useful chemical work is an important new avenue for diverse applications of the colloidal quantum materials. Here, we introduce the colloidal quantum materials and their virtues, focusing on the “all-in-one system” concept for semiconductor–metal hybrid nanoparticles acting as photocatalysts. Next, their emerging photocatalytic functionalities are highlighted, including their action as photocatalysts for solar-to-fuel conversion and as photoinitiators for photo-curing and biomedical applications, such as phototherapy, sterilization, and diagnostics.
Nir Waiskopf, Uri Banin

Chapter 13. Vibrant Digital—A Personal Journey Navigating the Cognitive Era

Abstract
There has been a seismic shift in the last decade in how we think about what computers are able to do in our everyday lives. Many tasks that we thought only humans could perform, such as those requiring specialized knowledge, sophisticated judgment, and advanced reasoning, we now see computers taking on more and more. There are many underlying causes for this shift, but three primary advances are driving the revolution.
Scott Sprangler

Chapter 14. Accelerating Discovery with Cognitive—An Example Cognitive Application for Discovery: Watson for Drug Discovery

Abstract
Watson for Drug Discovery (WDD) is a cloud-based, end-to-end scalable platform that helps life science researchers discover new disease pathways, new drug targets, and additional drug indications. It ingests both structured and unstructured content from multiple internal and external heterogeneous sources. It then uses natural language processing and domain-specific ontologies to annotate this content so that the machine can read and understand the content more like the way a domain expert would.
Scott Spangler

Bright Future

Frontmatter

Chapter 15. Foresight Driven Policymaking: Society 5.0

Abstract
Starting in 1971, Science and Technology (S&T) Foresight reports started publishing in Japan, which quickly became important landmarks for S&T policy as well as a strategy guideline for Japanese companies. In 1988, the newly established National Institute for Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) was commissioned to prepare foresight activities. In an increasingly turbulent and uncertain environment, societal problems in Japan have increased its seriousness, while at the same time, high hopes are being put into innovation. Under this background, the 10th S&T Foresight (2013–15) was conducted, the results of this research were utilized to define the Japanese Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan (2016–20). Combining the result of different foresight methodologies, “Society 5.0” was formulated, as an inclusive, prosperous societal vision of Japan. The demand of the service sector according to aging population are being met with the help of ICT devices with a super smart network. Since in the near future, the demand for foresight is expected to be increased and international cooperation is requested.
Naohiro Shichijo, Shinichi Akaike

Chapter 16. Curiosity—Fuel for Innovation

Abstract
With the Merck Curiosity Council, we examined the correlations of curiosity and innovation behavior at the workplace. We validated a multidimensional work curiosity scale and conducted a Lab Partnership Program in order to strengthen curiosity behavior at the workplace. In consequence, we aimed at reporting what set curious individuals apart, why curiosity makes teams flourish, and what mindset underlies curious behavior. The findings help understand why curiosity can be considered “fuel for innovation” and that the curious minds that are found in this book capitalized on curiosity on their road to distilling their own innovations.
Carl Naughton

Open Access

Chapter 17. The Way Forward

Abstract
Science and technology remain silent on the most important question in life: “Why do we live and what should we do?”. In this chapter five key eternal principles are developed that should guide our actions to ensure science and technology are applied for the greater good.
Ulrich A. K. Betz
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