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Why Discovery Science?

The focus of the Alliance’s work is discovery science, also known as discovery science or foundational, earlystage scientific research, the eventual applications of which cannot always be anticipated at the outset. It is fundamental research that can be driven by curiosity, focused on discovery, inspired by potential use, or motivated by hoped-for outcomes. Funding for science deepens our understanding of nature by chipping away at what obscures the truth; it makes little presumption as to exact applications. Sometimes it reveals fundamental principles that ripple across science, technology, and imagination, revolutionizing ideas that previously felt well understood.

Why discovery science?

discovery science can answer fundamental questions about our world, and lead to wide-ranging applications, tremendous benefits, and value. According to National Institutes of Health, every dollar spent on basic research yields returns ranging from $10 to more than $80. Hear what some scientists have to say about the importance of discovery science.

More Stories

Reading Genomes: The Key to Life and to Thwarting Death

Like humans, viruses have genomes: biological instructions that mold their structure, function, and reproduction. The ability to sequence a genome—to “read” the hereditary code inscribed in cells or viral particles—is one of the triumphs of modern science. In the latest installment of the COVID-19 discovery science Prequels, Jennifer Welsh traces the history of this lifesaving breakthrough…

Exponentially Important: The Scientific Origins of PCR

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology—a way to copy fragments of DNA until they’re numerous enough to identify—is considered the gold standard of COVID-19 testing. In the latest installment of the COVID-19 discovery science Prequels, writer Wendy Kagan retraces the decades of basic research that made this scientific turning point possible.

Government-funded Research Increasingly Fuels Innovation [via Science]

A first-of-its-kind study shows that cuts in federal funding for science might hinder the economy by halting innovation. The study, recently published in Science, examines how patented inventions rely on federally-funded science. Nearly a third of all the patents in the US rely on federal research—a percentage that has grown substantially over the past 90 years.…

The Pleasure and Necessity of Finding Things Out [via Simons Foundation]

John Pavlus' 2015 essay on why the reasons for doing basic research go well beyond the creation of new applications and technologies is still very relevant today." that seems idle one day can become crucial the next — and until scientists discover a working crystal ball, society will never be able to make the distinction…

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