A Vision for the Future of Science Philanthropy

Article by Evan Michelson and Adam Falk: “If science is to accomplish all that society hopes it will in the years ahead, philanthropy will need to be an important contributor to those developments. It is therefore critical that philanthropic funders understand how to maximize science philanthropy’s contribution to the research enterprise. Given these stakes, what will science philanthropy need to get right in the coming years in order to have a positive impact on the scientific enterprise and to help move society toward greater collective well-being?

The answer, we argue, is that science philanthropies will increasingly need to serve a broader purpose. They certainly must continue to provide funding to promote new discoveries throughout the physical and social sciences. But they will also have to provide this support in a manner that takes account of the implications for society, shaping both the content of the research and the way it is pursued. To achieve this dual goal of positive scientific and societal impact, we identify four particular dimensions of the research enterprise that philanthropies will need to advance: seeding new fields of research, broadening participation in science, fostering new institutional practices, and deepening links between science and society. If funders attend assiduously to all these dimensions, we hope that when people look back 75 years from now, science philanthropy will have fully realized its extraordinary potential…(More)”.