Nadia Asparouhova | Early stage funding markets for science - an analysis

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2023-01-24 08:00:07

In the summer of 2022, with support from Schmidt Futures, I took a closer look at several emerging science funding mechanisms – rapid grants, scout programs, and focused research organizations (FROs) – to understand how they serve the needs of early stage science. I also conducted interviews with funders, program administrators, and grantees to understand their goals, operations, and intended impact, and how their work fits into the existing science funding landscape.

Changes in science philanthropy in the past decade – a significant growth in capital spend, changing career interests from science and engineering PhD graduates, and increased urgency since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – have converged to create the beginnings of a “seed stage” market for science, which addresses a critical funding gap for early stage discovery and prototyping.

Early stage funding is a growing category in science philanthropy that benefits both basic and applied research. “Early stage” refers to high-risk, high-reward projects that are not yet well-funded.

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