TREC to WHERE? Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (2016)


When information is exchanged across disciplinary boundaries, resources are shared, and discipline-specific approaches are altered to achieve a common scientific goal, we create a new intellectual space for transdisciplinary research. This approach, fostered heavily by multiple National Cancer Institute funded initiatives, has the potential to forge new understanding of major public health issues. By breaking down disciplinary barriers, we work toward making real, meaningful, and lasting forward motion in addressing key public health issues. One of the transdisciplinary initiatives of the National Cancer Institute is TREC: Transdisicplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer. In this article, we review the goals and scope of TREC, as well as the ways in which the initiative promotes transdisciplinary science. A particular focus is on multiple examples of the most unique aspect of the initiative: the funding of developmental projects across multiple TREC centers, toward the goal of incubating high risk science that has the potential to translate into major leaps forward in understanding energetics in cancer. As we enter an era of greater focus on investigator initiated science, new approaches may be needed to ensure that the peer review process is not solely organized along disciplinary lines. Inclusion of expertise regarding transdisciplinarity, as well as representation from multiple scientific disciplines within a panel may allow transdisciplinary research to receive an educated hearing. The body of researchers trained to work in a transdisciplinary research space is ideally suited to address these challenges.