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A Look at the Externalized World: Scientific Computing Round Up

January 21, 2016
by Sanji Bhal, Director, Marketing & Communications, ACD/Labs

Scientific Computing

Over the course of the last four months, we have been working with Scientific Computing to publish a series of articles on a subject that we feel very passionately about (and work very close with) at ACD/Labs – the externalization of scientific research and development (read the summary here). Essentially, we used this opportunity to address some key trends specific to this topic from various perspectives in the industry. Now that the series is complete, I wanted to give you an overview of the four articles to paint a broader picture of what we, and some of our customers and partners, are seeing today.

To kick off the series, Michael Elliott, CEO of Atrium Research & Consulting, describes in his article, “The Future-as-a-Service,” the challenges brought about by the expanding ecosystem of collaborative R&D partnerships. More specifically, he discusses the increased pressure this trend is inflicting on information technology departments. Elliott goes on to outline some of the efforts to support these new R&D operating models with services-oriented IT architectures.

Our second article, “Analytical Knowledge Transfer presents a Challenging Landscape in an Externalized World,” written by yours truly, lays out the challenges associated with information transfer when it comes to the externalization of R&D to both third-party partners and colleagues across the globe. More specifically, it addresses the difficulties of dealing with ‘DEAD’ versus ‘LIVE’ data and how the reduction/abstraction of certain information limits the effectiveness of collaboration.

In the third article, “The Business Challenges of Externalizing R&D,” Brian Fahie and Evan Guggenheim of Biogen address some of the effective data flows between collaborators and decision-making mechanisms. In doing so, they describe a model in which R&D organizations can develop internal strategies that align with how they add value to their customers and shareholders.

Finally, our own Andrew Anderson and Graham McGibbon provide some additional recommendations for industrial R&D stakeholders to consider in, “Open Innovation and IT Infrastructure Considerations for Information Assembly in Analytical Sciences.”

As you may or may not know, we have been sharing our views on the externalization of scientific R&D for some time now. Admittedly, there are many facets to this growing trend, and we have only begun to scratch the surface of the conversation. Our hope is that the articles referenced above give a more complete view of the externalized world and a preview of what to expect in the future. Perhaps some of the ideas may even stir up some debate within your organization.

While some industries, such as Petrochemicals, successfully embraced the outsourcing of research decades ago it has emerged as a growing trend in Pharma over the last decade or so. What’s your view of externalization in R&D? Does it align with the claims made above? Share your thoughts in the comments below and keep the conversation going.


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