The Multi-Agency Tissue Engineering Science (MATES) Interagency Working Group (IWG), originally organized under the auspices of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), was established in 2000. Its five-year plan was renewed in 2002 and new Terms of Reference were introduced in 2007. The MATES group now works independently of NSTC and is comprised of many participating agencies. The principal purpose of the MATES IWG is to provide a platform across which member agencies can interact and exchange information on tissue engineering efficiently and effectively. It is the means by which Federal agencies involved in tissue engineering stay informed of each other's activities and coordinate their efforts in a timely and efficient manner.
Goals of the MATES Interagency Working Group:
- To facilitate communication across departments/agencies by regular information exchanges and a common web site.
- To enhance cooperation through co-sponsorship of scientific meetings and workshops, and facilitation of the development of standards.
- To monitor technology by undertaking cooperative assessments of the status of the field.
- To provide for support of Tissue Engineering research through an Interagency Announcement of Opportunities in Tissue Engineering.
- To foster technology transfer and translation of research advances into practical applications.
- To promote the formulation and use of standards for both research tools and product development.
MATES IWG accomplishments to date include the following:
- Commissioning the WTEC Panel Report on Tissue Engineering Research, which was published in 2002 (McIntire et al. 2002)
- Joint progress report presentations at meetings of grantees, industry-sponsored groups, and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Biotechnology Subcommittee
- Use of Federal reviewers from many agencies for program and proposal evaluation
- Joint development of the language for a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) RFA on tissue engineering
- Subsequent development and release of a funding opportunity announcement for research on "Enabling Technologies for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine," and an associated interagency memorandum of understanding to carry out that program
- Interagency knowledge-sharing via MATES IWG meetings and conferences
- Development of the MATES IWG website, which serves as a one-stop source for information on the Federal Government's activities in tissue engineering
The membership and interests of the MATES IWG have expanded as both the number of tissue engineering applications and the need to advance the underpinning science have increased.MATES Chair: Richard McFarland, FDA, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-827-5352