The Arc Institute has partnered with Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco to provide long-term research funding to eliminate the amount of time scientists waste seeking grants and holding fundraisers. (Image credit: Arc Institute)
It’s estimated that many scientists spend nearly 50% of their time chasing down grants and holding fundraisers to get the necessary funds to conduct research. Most people believe that the institutions themselves pay the academic institutions where some scientists work. Still, in reality, they rely on those grants to pay salaries, buy equipment and engage in experimentation. Moreover, interdisciplinary research is less likely to garner funding over those with a narrower focus, which means some critical research never gets completed. This, of course, is on top of the competition scientists go through to get said funding, which can often lead to unethical practices.
To mitigate those issues, a new biomedical startup, known as the Arc Institute, is looking at ways to better fund science. The institute describes itself as a “nonprofit research organization founded on the belief that many important scientific programs can be enabled by new organizational models.” Arc operates in partnership with Stanford University, UCSF, and UC Berkeley.” To that end, Arc provides scientists with no-strings-attached, multi-year funding and invests in the rapid development of experimental and computational technological tools. In other words, scientists get an 8-year grant to do whatever they want.
Arc is operating out of Palo Alto, California, as a nonprofit institute, and although the initial venture will undoubtedly be expensive, initial backers of the project include cryptocurrency billionaire Vitalik Buterin, philanthropist Cari Tuna, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, and others. It will be interesting to see how this funding pans out and if it will produce research into stagnant areas of science that have been all but forgotten.
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