Biomedical research, much like living organisms, must be able to evolve and adapt to a changing environment. Richard Jove, Ph.D., director of Beckman Research Institute, recognizes that. He is working with City of Hope faculty, staff and administration to boost the institute’s success amid growing competition for funding and shifting priorities within the research community.
Jove recently met with Hope News to discuss his vision for building on Beckman Research Institute’s existing strengths to ensure a successful future for the organization and its scientists.
Hope News: What motivated you to re-examine Beckman Research Institute’s vision?
Richard Jove: The institute enjoyed many successful years under the able leadership of Drs. Art Riggs and Ted Krontiris. We now have the opportunity to build on their prior successes and take the institute to the next level.
HN: What are the institute’s strategic priorities?
RJ: Its strategic priorities are deeply rooted in City of Hope’s overall mission — namely, excellence in innovative biomedical research for the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases such as diabetes. To achieve this mission, our top priorities are to increase extramural, peer-reviewed funding and publications in high-impact journals, enhance collaboration and translation from the laboratory to the clinic, and provide better treatments and more hope for patients.
|Richard Jove (Photo by Paula Myers)|
HN: How did you identify these priorities?
RJ: These strategic priorities are very much in tune with City of Hope’s new overarching strategic plan as articulated by our president and chief executive officer, Dr. Michael Friedman, and endorsed by the board of directors. This strategic plan calls for increased translation from the laboratory to the clinic with greater speed, safety and effectiveness. Our priorities emerged from dialogue and input at many levels, including researchers, clinicians and leadership throughout City of Hope.
HN: What are the opportunities for growth or improvement?
RJ: What I see as the greatest opportunity for all of City of Hope is that Beckman Research Institute, the medical center and the comprehensive cancer center have the potential to become much greater than the sum of all the parts. There is enormous unrealized potential within all areas of City of Hope. This is the attraction for me as the Beckman Research Institute director: the opportunity for us to become even better at what we do best.
HN: How will you measure progress?
RJ: We are in the process of establishing metrics to track our progress. These metrics include the total amount of peer-reviewed extramural grant funding, the number of publications in high-impact journals, patents applied for and awarded, and increased investigator-initiated clinical trials with innovative therapies. Another measure of our collective success at City of Hope is our national recognition as a center of excellence; notable recent examples include renewal of our National Cancer Institute designation as a comprehensive cancer center and our ranking as No. 22 among the best cancer hospitals in the nation by U.S.News & World Report.
HN: When will you implement the new vision?
RJ: We have already begun to implement this new vision at all levels throughout the organization. I think people are beginning to sense the changes, as well as the excitement and challenges. It will not be easy, and sometimes it may be painful, but the results will make all the effort worthwhile.
HN: What are the guiding principles for the institute going forward?
RJ: Our new vision is based on the principles of increased transparency and consistency, merit-based allocation of resources such as funding and space, collaboration and collegiality, and accountability, including fiscal and regulatory.
HN: How often will you re-evaluate the priorities?
RJ: We are re-evaluating our strategic priorities continually. This is an ongoing process among the Executive Team, the Beckman Council, the board of directors and other leadership across the entire City of Hope organization.
HN: Why do we need a new vision for the institute?
RJ: We cannot become complacent with our prior successes; if we don’t continue to move forward, we will, in effect, be standing still or risking sliding backwards. The external world of biomedical research has become increasingly competitive in terms of both grant funding and publication in high-quality journals. This means that we have to define a clear niche for ourselves that resonates with our unique mission and provides us with a competitive edge. Translational research is this niche, and, at the same time, it allows us to have an even greater impact on bringing new treatments and hope to patients. This, after all, is what Beckman Research Institute and City of Hope are all about.