The Science Foundation Alliance – How Might It Help?

Recently the Science Philanthropy Alliance, a consortium of foundations that contribute to fundamental/basic research, announced that Marc Kastner, recently the Dean of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be its first President.

(Keen readers may remember that Kastner was nominated to lead the Office of Science at the Department of Energy in 2013, and never confirmed.  Clearly he will not be renominated, and there is speculation that the Obama Administration will not nominate someone else.)

The Alliance is interested in promoting private investment in what it calls fundamental research – discovery (of new knowledge) driven research.  Specifically, it aims to significantly increase the amount (by $1 billion) of discovery-driven research funding in five years, and to broaden the community of institutions funding such research.  This would be done through funding universities (the Alliance has identified several universities with dedicated funds for discovery-driven research).

It seems quite early to see what the collaboration encouraged by the Alliance might bring.  Kastner starts on March 15, and then we can see what nudging he and his staff might bring.


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