March 25, 2021
Together with the Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE), Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), COST AMiCI Consortium and the ESCMID Study Group for Biofilms (ESGB) we are calling on the international biofilms community to help us identify priority questions that, if answered, will make a considerable impact on the fundamentals of the field of microbial biofilms, to innovation in approaches to prevent, detect, manage and engineer biofilms, or which would be expected to have an impact in influencing policy makers and funders.
To date, there has not been an international and community-wide synthesis of key questions and priority research or innovation areas for the biofilm field. Such exercises can play a critical role in bridging the gap between the data generated by researchers, and the information needed by policymakers to make funding or regulatory decisions (1-3).
We are calling for questions that are unanswered, could be answered (including through high-risk and blue-skies research), and that could be tackled by a research programme.
Our definition of microbial biofilms is as inclusive as possible and includes communities of bacteria that may be surface or interface-associated or suspended as aggregates, comprising single-species or polymicrobial consortia, and relevant to any fundamental or applied context in which biofilms are studied.
To participate, please submit your questions via our short online form by 31 March 2021. Once you have entered your question(s) anonymously into the form you will also have an option to receive further updates on the Biofilms Priority Questions initiative.
All questions are submitted anonymously. Once our call for questions closes in March, all submissions will be pre-screened for duplication before being grouped into themes. We will then hold thematic focus groups, which will include scientists from research and industry, policymakers and other stakeholders, to organise subsets of related questions and finalise our set of priority questions. These will form the basis for a position paper, which will be published as a resource for the field. This is expected to help set the agenda for future research in the field of microbial biofilms as well as have impact in areas of policy and outreach. After submitting your question, if you are interested in participating further in the process you will have the opportunity to indicate this on the question form which will only take a few minutes to fill in. Questions should be less than 100 words and should not have already been answered within the scientific literature.
In May 2019, 29 scientists with expertise in various subdisciplines of biofilm research met in the US at an event designated as the ‘2019 Biofilm Bash’. Click here to view the meeting report. The goal of the meeting was first to identify knowledge gaps, and then to come up with ways of how the biofilm community can fill these gaps. Among the outcomes of this meeting, it was identified that increased interdisciplinary and international networking would be beneficial and that the larger centres can and should play a role in catalysing these interactions, which would bring additional value (e.g., in leveraging international funding initiatives). A joint meeting of biofilm centres was held in Arlington, USA, February 2020, and the proposal is for the core international partners, NBIC, CBE, SCELSE, AMiCI and ESGB to work together with the community to coordinate a priority question exercise.
If you are interested in hearing more about taking part in the Biofilms Priority Questions initiative process please get in touch email@example.com
If you are able to support the promotion this initiative, you can find a number of digital assets available on our #BiofilmAware hub to share with your scientific community.
Skip Anderson (Montana State, CBE)
Parvathi Chundi (U. Nebraska Omaha)
Matthew Fields (Montana State, CBE)
Etienne Gnimpieba (U. of South Dakota)
Kristen Griffin (Montana State, CBE)
Carol Lushbough (U. of South Dakota)
Merja Ahonen (Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
Tom Coenye (U. Gent, ESGB)
Jo Slater-Jefferies (Southampton, NBIC)
Jeremy Webb (Southampton, NBIC)
Ines Foidl (Edinburgh, NBIC)
Natasha Nater (Southampton, NBIC)
Sandra Wilks (Southampton, NBIC)
Jamie Hinks (NTU, SCELSE)
Pauline Teo (NTU, SCELSE)
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