International Alliance for Biological Standardization

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The success of IABS depends upon both its Scientific Committee volunteers and from internal and external support staff.  That support staff has been limited in recent years to an Executive Director, who is tasked with building a funding model for IABS, and a Scientific Secretariate who assists in organizing and managing conferences and webinars.  Additional support comes from external contractors who maintain the IABS Information Technology and assist in producing webinars as well as the IABS website.

Proceeds for the support staff come from a combination of sources: (1) proceeds and sponsorships from its conferences; (2) proceeds from subscriptions to its journal Biologicals; and (3) investor donations for IABS webinars.  In order to sustain itself and grow, however, IABS is engaged in seeking funding for its current operations and to broaden its repertoire of offerings to the biological’s community.

To that end 3 IABS Business Projects have been identified :

1. Enhancements to IABS Conferences and Workshops

The primary objective of this project is to facilitate accessibility for stakeholders who wish to participate in IABS conferences and workshops as well as the benefits of conference outcomes after an event.  This includes aspects related to time and travel of invited experts, as well as accessibility to conferences and their outcomes for interested stakeholders.

This involves transitioning operational activities associated with conferences and workshops from volunteer scientific experts to professional staff.  This will both unburden scientific planners to deliver superior content and receive better quality of conference logistics and outputs. Two main areas for consideration are use of a professional livestreaming company to develop online platforms for both delivery of conference content and networking opportunities, and employment of professional scientific writers who can summarize conference output, discussion, and recommendations to be published in the IABS journal Biologicals.  Quality improvements of the conferences will yield a more rewarding experience for conference participants and strengthen the position of the Alliance as a key player in the advancement of Biologicals.

2. Enhancements to Biologicals

The primary objectives of this project are to improve the quality of articles published in the IABS journal Biologicals as measured by its CiteScore and Impact Factor, improve on the workload and interactions among the editorial staff of Biologicals, and transition the leadership of the currently instituted IABS Publications Committee from voluntary status to a professional in the field of scientific publication.

The IABS Publications Committee has identified several opportunities to meet these objectives.  These include exploring and implementing mechanisms for identifying editors and reviewers, updating the journal description to reflect the goal to publish articles in regulatory science, updating the journal instructions to authors to provide guidance on expectations related to principles of scientific writing and language, and establish a network to solicit articles from global regions, institutions, and across biologicals categories.  Enhancements to Biologicals is expected to create synergy between IABS Scientific Events and publications in the journal, both by creating a sustainable repository of event outcomes but also as a basis for understanding what the biologicals community is interested in discussing.

3. Institution of IABS Biologicals Scientific Advisory Panels

An effective means to solving a scientific or regulatory challenge in biologicals is to recruit a team of experts to come together to discuss the dimensions of the issue and pathways to its solution.  This is commonly the case within organizations or small communities, but not always the case with the majority of all stakeholders.  It takes the majority of stakeholders to adequately identify most of the gaps and to agree on harmonized solutions.

This project is aimed at instituting a new IABS resource, the development, coordination, and facilitation of Scientific Advisory Panels.  Different from the current paradigm of focused conferences and workshops.  Scientific Advisory Panels will be restricted in size, will be by invitation only, and will be carried out as focused dialogue among participants.  IABS will be responsible for working with an appointed scientific committee chair(s) to draft an agenda and to manage all logistics and finances for a roundtable.  IABS will also manage follow-up where pathways to solutions have been identified and communications of the roundtable outcomes and follow-up.  Such outcomes are expected to result in follow-on workshops with a broader participation from among appropriate stakeholders, as well as management of appropriate communications such as white papers or draft guidances.

Resources are required for administration (venue or webinar) and if required travel.  Additional needs are expected to be professional facilitation to help ensure successful outcomes from a Scientific Advisory Panel project.