In this section
Proteomics is a modern technological field aimed at enriching our understanding about proteins by studying them collectively rather than individually (i.e. a holistic approach). Likewise, metabolomics is used to investigate many small molecules, or "metabolites", at once (learn more at
PMV). When the ideas that led to PMV were being conceived, the proteomics discipline was little more than a decade old and expanding rapidly. While attracting great excitement, the field was also suffering growth pains which were only aggravated when metabolomics
subsequently rose to prominence.
The overall vision was for PMV to be an umbrella network that brought unity and identity to this nascent technological sector, thereby enhancing its strength and recognition. Follow-on advances would lead to better efficiencies and increased investment in this
and neighbouring sectors. Before PMV, problems arose from fragmentation and lack of block identity, leading to missed opportunities as a whole. Applying holistic philosophy shared by the "-omics" fields (i.e. that enriched learning comes from addressing many things together), it seemed sensible to unite
mainstream proteomics and metabolomics, plus their conceptual offshoots, under a common banner. A second problem concerned accessibility, with interest in these enticing new technologies outstripping the available resources and guidance. Improved communication, both within the sector and externally, was clearly
needed to address these and additional problem areas. A bold and distinctive vision was to span the full user-base (academia, research, trade, industry) through to government, thereby developing a mandated community in which research translation could
thrive. It followed that academic and commercial interests might then work together to "grow the pie", rather than compete between existing "slices". Finally, it was envisioned that such a collective would provide a sizeable building block that could
interact effectively alongside other sectors and networks (e.g. other "-omics technologies", healthcare, biotechnology, education), in Victoria and elsewhere.
To get the "cross-sector" vision rolling, a small group of proponents was assembled from academia and trade. After obtaining support and financial backing from the Victorian government, broader buy-in was secured from academia, trade and industry (i.e.
18 founding organisations & companies contributed financially). PMV was then formalised as an incorporated association and management structures put in place. Foundation initiatives (website portal, network functions) were designed and implemented, engaging broadly
across the sector and region. A design focus here was to include small players as well as big, recognising that such diversity brought strength when solving individual scientific and technological problems (particularly challenges at the "front end"). Once broad membership was secured around the core areas,
attention turned to fulfilling the umbrella vision by including peripheral players (e.g. protein structure/function) and interfacing with other network initiatives. From the outset, a particular challenge was to overcome the classical "us and them" barrier that existed between academia and trade, as necessitated by
the vision for collaborative pie-growing. To address this challenge alongside other important matters, the idea of a regular "pub meeting" event was born (i.e. "public meeting" of the PMV Working Party, followed by a networking function at a nearby "public
Good progress has been made towards fulfilling the founding vision, to the extent that PMV has received governmental praise as a role model and since been emulated by others.
It is apparent from these outcomes that PMV has made strong translational advances, both by coming to fruition and through initiatives it has developed since. With its exciting plans for further growth and development (e.g. e-learning resource, training
schemes, educational tradeshows, scientific/educational liaison officers), PMV is ripe for further development alongside other network ventures in Victoria and elsewhere.