The International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC) is a scientific society made up of scientists and innovators all of whom share the aim to discover the functions and impact of lactation and its remarkable product, milk. The organization’s goals are also to educate the community of the implications of those scientific discoveries and to help bring them to practice for health. Our scientific members are the base of our organization and are essential for scientific advancement in the fields of lactation, milk and dairy science.
The IMGC’s vision is to be the world’s knowledge hub of mechanistic science, innovation and impact in lactation, milk and dairy research in order to improve health.
The IMGC’s mission is to provide a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, pre-competitive platform for scientific discoveries of the structures, functions, actions and benefits of lactation and milk and to facilitate the translation of that knowledge into practice for health.
The IMGC is leading the global community in the scientific exploration of lactation, milk and dairy science–the most exciting and translatable scientific fields of study for health. The IMGC guides scientists and innovators from around the world and across all scientific disciplines to common challenges and opportunities of milk research. The IMGC increases awareness of scientific advancements and identifies actionable opportunities in lactation, milk and dairy science through multiple mechanisms: 1) the Annual International Symposium on Milk Science and Health that features scientific research related to lactation, milk and dairy science for health; 2) the Awards Program that supports new scientists; and 3) SPLASH!® milk science update, the IMGC’s free, bi-monthly, scientific publication that translates the latest scientific discoveries in lactation, and milk and dairy science from primary literature into accessible articles for a broader audience. We are pleased to introduce our fourth newest platform: The Annual ROS (roll up one’s sleeves) Workshop. The IMGC annual workshop is focused on the translational issues in milk science and lactation, to identify key hurdles to scientific development and recruit innovative solutions from a broad range of scientific disciplines not typically working or working on milk. The goal is that participants come away with a better understanding of bringing the discoveries of science to practice as concepts and products for human health.
Collectively, the IMGC facilitates the translation of discoveries from experimental data into usable benefits. In short, we are connecting the dots in science. Key measurements of IMGC’s success are: 1) recruiting and engaging new scientists, 2) increasing the number of milk-related publications and high impact papers, and 3) supporting collaborations among IMGC attendees.
Year after year, the number of new scientists attending and creating long-term collaborations through the annual Symposium has increased. For example, between 2005 and 2016, new Symposia attendees represented 46-75% of participants. Increases not only in attendance but also in the number of published papers points to the success and quality of the attendees at the annual Symposium.
Our success in increasing productivity and fostering collaborations was recently published in PLOS ONE by Kwok et al. In its first year, attendees published less than 100 papers, increasing in total volume by 3,284% by 2017, with a total of 5,520 milk-related publications over 12 years. Notably, in 2014 alone, publications by IMGC attendees increased by 36% over the previous year, generating 953 papers in just one year. In all, 83 publications have been ranked very high impact papers, with more than 100 citations each.
Furthermore, data sharing and collaboration are arguably not an instinctive practice for scientists, however, on average, collaborations among IMGC attendees have increased 30-fold since the first Symposium in 2004. The IMGC remains resolute in creating an open dialogue among scientists as part of research practices that benefit research institutes, businesses, industries and consumers worldwide. As we approach future IMGC Symposia, we are proud to continue to recruit new scientists, increase productivity and foster collaborations to advance the milk science field. We would like to thank all of our IMGC participants and partners for helping us accomplish our mission!
A Broad Spectrum of Research Fields
Our scientific membership base derives from a broad spectrum of research fields united by a shared interest in milk science and health. Formed in 2004, the IMGC connects the global community of milk scientists working within genomics and across other scientific disciplines to address some of the major challenges to health. Our interest in milk is based on its uniqueness as it is the only food that has evolved specifically to nourish mammals. Therefore, through their genomes, mammals contain the evolutionary blueprint of the selection pressure on milk as a nutritional, metabolic and immunological health support system. Over the years, IMGC has provided a home for this diverse community of scientists and innovators to carry on an unprecedented conversation on cutting-edge milk science. Come and join us!