The Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to collaboratively identify and help resolve global health and environmental challenges through the engagement of scientists from academia, government, industry, and NGOs. For more than 30 years, HESI has acted as a neutral platform to facilitate collaboration and develop science for public benefit. HESI’s work is conducted via Committees that create opportunities for conversations among scientists from academia, government, industry, and NGOs and lead to the design and implementation of experimental studies or scientific frameworks that reflect the committee’s collective scientific priorities. All HESI Committees make their final work products publicly available via publications, databases, presentations, and/or trainings.
Academic participants provide a critical perspective in the multi-sector collaborative approach to science, often bringing cutting edge and emerging science to the applied scientific work of the committee activities. HESI is also deeply committed to building the next generation of translational scientists. It is a privilege to collaborate with a broad range of scientists from academic institutions around the globe who share our passion for fostering young scientists with interdisciplinary perspectives on the conduct and impact of science for health.
HESI programs address applied science issues at the intersection of novel methods/tools and human/environmental health and safety assessment. This includes tools or methods for assessing safety (e.g., for evaluating genotoxicity) OR tools/methods utilized to develop a product to which there will/could be exposure to humans or the environment and for which safety evaluation is a consideration (drugs, chemicals, consumer products, foods, etc.). As a non-profit, HESI generally works in the ‘precompetitive’ space –we do not seek to develop intellectual property (nor ask participants to share it), do not seek to monetize any of our outputs, and do not work to directly further a specific commercial interest of any of our collaborators. HESI’s programs must be of mutual interest and value to our academic, government, and industry collaborators to be initiated and executed.
HESI projects are designed to move science from the theoretical to the actionable. By bringing together international experts across sectors, HESI helps create a knowledge base that can be easily transferred from the laboratory or journal page to address contemporary applied science and health priorities. The benefits to academics for collaborating with HESI are numerous:
Insight – Opportunity to contribute to (and learn from) contemporary discussions with leading scientists from the academic, regulatory, nonprofit, clinical, and industrial sectors that are working on issues that relate to your expertise and future research. Opportunity to learn how the research in your field may be (or become to be) applied by the end users and to learn about potential challenges or adaptations needed to meet regulatory requirements. Be a part of discussions about evolving methods and challenges in the fields of food safety, drug safety/development, chemical risk assessment, ecotoxicology, environmental health, epidemiology, etc.
Career Development – Many of our academic participants tell us that participating in HESI Committees has beneficially influenced their research and professional trajectories and impact. The opportunity for leadership (e.g., to lead projects and/or the committee) and to engage with an international, applied science community allows members to differentiate themselves and their work and has helped them in pursuit of grant funding, awards, etc. Many of our academic partners also value HESI as an opportunity to advance the careers of students in their labs – we welcome interested, ambitious, and high-quality contributors at all stages of their career.
Impact – By contributing as a thought-leader, technical expert, study contributor, etc. on HESI committees you will be recognized in publications and other outreach as a contributor to programs that directly impact global health and environmental quality. HESI’s published work has been cited over 20,000 times over the past 30 years across dozens of countries and is routinely used to inform contemporary safety and health practices around the globe.
Partnership – As a member of a HESI Committee, you have the opportunity to leverage shared resources across the Committee via pooling data, expertise, funding, and lab facilities with other partner organizations.
HESI provides competitive grant support to academic researchers through focused programs (e.g., HESI THRIVE), prizes (e.g., Innovation Prize) and in some cases provides supplementary funding to academic partners who are otherwise donating significant research effort to a HESI program (e.g., to support purchase of supplies, support graduate students, etc.). However, the great majority of HESI’s scientific research is executed via in-kind (i.e., unpaid) contributions of time, labor, expertise, and experimental research from our academic and our government, nonprofit, and industry collaborators. Scientists contribute this time and resource because of their commitment to the value of those scientific issues that can only be addressed via shared research design and execution across academe, government, and industry.
• Join existing committees. (There is no fee to join; the only requirement is relevant technical expertise.) Commitment requires active participation on conference calls and in meetings, as well as to providing ongoing, intellectual input to the scientific program. In-kind or financial support of Committee projects is always welcome.
• Submit a formal project/program of work.
• Bring an idea for research topic to HESI by contacting any HESI Staff.
• Collaborate with HESI on bringing career training to your students/institution.
• Identify grant proposals where you and HESI can jointly pursue funding.