The 20th century was established as the century of extraordinary progress in the physical sciences and engineering technology. The beginning of the 21st century, which is noted as the bio-century, represents an outstanding opportunity to engineer biological systems using physical sciences and engineering approaches. Despite tremendous efforts in developing the knowledge and ability that is essential in addressing biomedical and health problems using engineering methodologies, how to optimize this approach towards engineering, life sciences, and healthcare remains a grand challenge.
As the pace of R & D continues to accelerate, how to address the most significant challenges that face the scientific community, and how to best invest public resources in order to achieve large societal impacts, are of ultimate importance. Public discussions and debates become essential in identifying and resolving those challenges that could become roadblocks to progress and innovation. By providing an unbiased, public forum in which such issues can be freely deliberated, the conference is aimed to ensure that the quest for scientific excellence and advancement continues unimpeded.
This Conference is organized by the IEEE Life Sciences Initiative to have public discussions and debates on broad scopes of engineering life sciences and medicine. IEEE Life Sciences Initiative is a major initiative that has been taken at IEEE to coordinate vast activities that are organized by various societies and councils within IEEE.
The Conference is aimed at providing a public forum to discuss and debate the grand challenges and major technical trends in the interface of engineering, life sciences, and healthcare. The Conference will conduct strategic discussions and debates that will be open to, and engage, the scientific community. We are very pleased that we have an outstanding line-up of keynote and plenary speakers that represent thought leaders from academia, government, and industry, in areas interfacing engineering with life sciences and medicine. We are also very pleased that the conference has attracted a number of senior leaders in various sectors to participate, and that we anticipate warm and vivid discussions during panel discussions and small group discussions by all participants.
We hope that the Conference will facilitate the identification of the grand challenges in tackling major diseases such as neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, on how scientific discoveries and technical innovations can be translated to clinical applications, and on how we can train and educate the next generation who can take the leadership in the future.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank various colleagues who have made tremendous efforts and contributions to the organization of the conference. Sincere appreciations go out to the members of the Organizing Committee for their vision and commitments to recruit an exceptional group of invited speakers, to IEEE staff Beth Surmont, Ana Navarro, Bichlien Hoang, and Mark A. Vasquez for their tireless efforts in handling the non-technical aspects of meeting planning, to staff from IEEE.tv for recording and producing A/V products of the conference, and to the webmaster Yunfeng Lu who has created an excellent website. We also thank the National Science Foundation for grant support, the Institute for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota for sponsoring the conference, and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering for endorsing the conference.
I hope that you will find the conference stimulating, productive and enjoyable. Welcome to the first IEEE Life Sciences Grand Challenges Conference!