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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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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

January 27, 2024
Lessons Answer.AI can learn from history’s greatest R&D labs

Today’s piece was put together with the help of several conversations with Answer.AI co-founder Jeremy Howard. It is not […]

“The Third University of Cambridge”: BBN and the Development of the ARPAnet

We’ve all heard that “DARPA invented the Internet.” But few have heard of BBN, the contractor that […]

The Autonomous Land Vehicle, Pilot’s Associate, and Battle Management: Three North Star Applications Projects from DARPA’s Strategic Computing Portfolio

Introduction DARPA’s customer relationships and the individual agency of its PMs are possibly the two biggest differentiators […]

MOSIS: The 1980s DARPA ‘Silicon Broker’

This piece is a part of a FreakTakes series. The goal is to put together a series […]

Strategic Computing’s Machine Acquisition Program

Introduction In the early 1980s, as DARPA’s Strategic Computing Initiative was getting underway, lack of cheap computing […]

January 8, 2024
Texas Gas Stations, NIH-Sponsored Post-Docs, and the Foolishness of Artificially Subsidizing Demand

Gas Stations in Texas This is a photo that I recently took outside of a gas station […]


Stuart Buck

Executive Director

Betsy Ogburn

Senior Fellow

Eric Gilliam



Brian Nosek

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Center for Open Science

Chonnettia Jones

Executive Director for Addgene

Michael Stebbins

President of Science 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


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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