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Mission and Strategy

Our mission is to improve the funding and practice of science.

Funding agencies should engage in bold experimentation to reduce bureaucracy, fund new ideas, and speed up innovation. Moreover, they should make much more data available so that independent scholars can evaluate the results.

For more on these ideas, read our Statement of Principles (with multiple signatories).

The Good Science Project engages in communications and public advocacy towards these goals. Our theory of change is that communications can affect the course of public debate, and ultimately influence policymakers.

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Issues

Reducing Unnecessary Bureaucracy

Federally-funded scientists spend too much of their time waiting to hear whether a proposal was approved, filing bureaucratic reports, etc. We need to streamline practices so that scientists can waste less time jumping through hoops, and spend more time on science.

Institutional Innovation

Too many scientific institutions (whether funding agencies or universities) fall into the same patterns and structures. Scientific innovation is more likely when there is a greater diversity of institutional approaches.

Funding High-Risk, High-Reward Science

Breakthrough scientific ideas have often been unpopular, and can have particular trouble getting funded. We need to experiment with different funding mechanisms and peer review models to see what works, and what might be more open to new ideas.

Funding Exploration

Goal-directed research (such as a “cancer moonshot”) is often more popular than fundamental, exploratory research. Funders need to ensure that a substantial part of their portfolio goes to fundamental science, which sets the stage for advancement in the future.

Improving Scientific Quality

Too much low-quality science gets funded and published every year. Funding practices can actually create perverse incentives that encourage such work. Funders need to bend over backwards to incentivize good science rather than low-quality science.

Rebalancing the Research Enterprise

There are arguably too many people being trained as graduate students and post-docs compared to the number of academic positions available. At the same time, there are too few career options for people who would be excellent at managing research labs, writing research software, etc. We need to have better calibration between the number of trainees and the amounts and types of research careers available.

Latest Articles

June 12, 2024
R&D Reform Project: Request for Submissions

In partnership with the Center for Technology, Science, and Energy at the American Enterprise Institute, the Good […]

May 11, 2024
Managing Lockheed’s Skunk Works

This piece covers how Kelly Johnson managed Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works. In its early decades, Skunk Works […]

How to Fund More Innovative Research

Back in 1980, Berkeley physicist Richard Muller published a piece in Science that is one of the most compelling articles I’ve ever […]

April 4, 2024
Hot Dogs, Cancer Cells, Replication, and AI

The Difficulty of Replicating Hot Dogs Let’s start off with a story that was featured on This American […]

March 30, 2024
Do We Fund New Research or Not?

A not-well-kept secret is that a great way to get funding from NIH is to stagger your […]

March 4, 2024
Why Are We Screwing Over Researchers Who Make Innovative Discoveries?

Current federal law allows universities to patent discoveries made with federal funding, but numerous empirical studies show […]

About

Stuart Buck

Executive Director

Betsy Ogburn

Senior Fellow

Eric Gilliam

Fellow

Board

Brian Nosek

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Center for Open Science

Chonnettia Jones

Executive Director for Addgene

Michael Stebbins

President of Science Advisors

Advisors

Prachee Avasthi

Co-founder and Chief Science Officer, Arcadia Science; Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Dartmouth

Philip Bourne

Dean, School of Data Science, University of Virginia; Former Assistant Director of Data Science, NIH

Daniel Correa

President, Federation of American Scientists

Tyler Cowen

Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Maryrose Franko

Executive Director, Health Research Alliance

Kumar Garg

Vice President of Partnerships, Schmidt Futures

Gregg Gonsalves

Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Yale

John List

Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; Chief Economist, Walmart

Olivia Rissland

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Univ. of Colorado

Joseph Ross

Professor of Medicine and of Public Health, Yale

Heidi Williams

Professor of Economics, Stanford

FUNDERS

The Good Science Project is currently funded by Patrick Collison, Craig Falls, Schmidt Futures, Emergent Ventures, and the Survival and Flourishing Fund. It is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.

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