Long a prominent, highly competitive funder for groundbreaking brain research, the Manhattan-based Dana Foundation seems to be reeling in some of its more daring initiatives and looking to support more legitimate, tried-and-true science. It rolled out a total redesign of its website on January 6th, complete with a new banner proclaiming itself “Your gateway to responsible information about the brain.”
"Responsible." Interesting choice of words. In the past, the Dana Foundation sought out “off the beaten path” and “innovative” new approaches to brain research; now it has refocused its mission slightly, leaning away from the edge—and perhaps, towards more conservative science—as it presses forward into 2014. It still wants “pilot tests of novel hypotheses,” but it wants these hypotheses to be founded on proven factual science, not supposition. As with most philanthropies, Dana is forever searching for the exact perfect mix of experimentation and engineering.
Website redesigns are interesting things. In a way, these big philanthropies are like planets slowly moving through colossal orbits. Most of the time, they’re far away and shrouded in a haze of cosmic dust—but when they refresh their mission, they come suddenly into focus. It’s like the big planet has come close enough to see with the naked eye, and grantseekers should take advantage of this transparency with the Dana Foundation, and make the most of it before the information stales.