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Philanthropic Funding Makes Waves in Basic Science [via The Scientist]

In this story from The Scientist, Bob Grant writes about private funders who are supporting big projects and rewriting the playbook on fueling scientific research.

The story quotes Marc Kastner, president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance, Cori Bargmann and Jeremy Freeman from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Gerry Fischbach from the Simons Foundation.

Private funders, on the other hand, have the freedom to build longer time lines into the projects they fund, which means returns on investment need not be immediate. As a result, philanthropic money is often essential to getting uncertain projects off the ground, with government dollars coming in at a later stage in the research once a clearer finish line emerges…

…the types of research funded through these different channels also vary, with private organizations often supporting more projects with no immediate return on investment, says Kastner. “Philanthropists are able to . . . take a longer-term view. That sounds at first sight ironic that the federal government has a shorter-term view, but it’s again this issue of reporting to the Congress about the efficacy of their investing.”