The American Association for the Advancement of Science has announced the creation of a coalition of funders that aims to double philanthropic support for basic science over the next ten years.
The seven members of the group — the Kavli, Gordon and Betty Moore, Alfred P. Sloan, W.M. Keck, and Simons foundations, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement — seek to boost to $8 billion the amount given annually by philanthropic organizations ($4 billion) and individual donors ($4 billion) in support of basis scientific research, USA Today reports.
While the federal government spends significantly more — some $30 billion — on basic research than the philanthropic sector in any given year, the projects it supports tend to be limited in scope and risk averse. To remedy the situation, the coalition will work to increase private investments in "high risk/high reward" research that complements existing government programs.
The coalition plans to roll out its initiative over the next three to four months, seeking to gain additional funding for basic science while allowing organizations and individuals to determine for themselves how best to allocate their funds. "We need to be a resource, not a prescriber," said Kavli Foundation president Robert Conn, who announced the initiative at a forum hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science earlier this month. "In that virtuous way, we'll find a way forward."