Science philanthropy had a bit of a moment in 2014, with some major news stories, plus a growing sense that wealthy donors are gaining influence in an area historically fueled by public funds.
Templeton’s known for funding hard science with one hand and the humanities with the other, all in pursuit of the same tough questions. Its latest effort wrangles neuroscientists and philosophers.
Google funds more than 200 academic research projects a year in computer science, engineering, and related fields. Always looking for the leading edge, the company just added three new, red hot areas of interest.
The problem of neuroscience has rapidly been shifting from not enough information, to more than we know what to do with, or at least can handle collectively. Some major funders hope to get brain researchers speaking the same language, in terms of data, and then get them talking.
Nine researchers were honored in the latest round of Kavli Prizes, the first since the passing of founder Fred Kavli in November. Three teams of scientists were awarded $1 million each for seminal advances in their fields, including one team that made huge headlines this year.
Why we act or don’t act poses one of the toughest problems facing scholars, and it's one that ricochets between philosophy and empirical science. The Templeton Foundation just pledged $4.5 million to one philosopher to bring together both camps in pursuit of this question of self-control. The initiative will make subgrants in two rounds over the next three years.
The Brain Research Foundation, a funder of basic and clinical neuroscience, has invited nominations for its more adventurous awards program the SIAs. Eligible institutions can nominate a researcher until July 1. Here’s what they’re looking for.
In the weeks leading up to philanthropist Fred Kavli’s passing, his foundation’s president Robert Conn said the 86-year-old Norwegian billionaire never wavered in his vision of supporting science research. “In phone conversations over the last 6 weeks, he told me several times—let’s keep going.” And while Kavli passed away in late November, his philanthropy will most certainly keep going.
Despite the current surge in neuroscience research and news coverage, and some tantalizing data points derived from improved brain scan technology, the cold hard truth is that we know very little about how the brain actually works. But we’re trying, and there’s a lot of funding flying about in this realm. Researchers are using all of the scientific disciplines at their disposal to try to cross the giant chasm between understanding the biological structures of brains and the functions of the mind. The Swartz Foundation exists solely to make that leap possible.