New Science aims to build new institutions of basic science, starting with the life sciences.
Founded in 2020, New Science will create a network of new scientific institutes pursuing basic research while not being dependent on universities, the NIH, and the rest of traditional academia.
New Science is a 501c3 research nonprofit incorporated in Massachusetts. The board of directors consists of Alexey Guzey, Mark Lutter, and Adam Marblestone. New Science is advised by Tessa Alexanian, Tyler Cowen, Andrew Gelman, Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy, Konrad Kording, Tony Kulesa, and Elizabeth Yin.
New Science will do to science what Silicon Valley did to entrepreneurship — shifting the focus on helping and enabling people on the basis of their skills and ideas rather than credentials. Our goal is to develop new institutions that provide much-needed competitive pressure to existing institutions and prevent their further stagnation.
The plan is to gradually increase the scope of projects and the number of people funded by New Science, eventually reaching the point where there are entire labs operating outside of traditional academia, and then an entire network of new scientific institutes.
By supporting researchers in their pursuit of frighteningly ambitious projects, we will create a new ecosystem to push the frontiers of science, and attract people who want to do original research but would not have chosen a career in traditional academia. New Science aims to pursue projects that are orthogonal to the culture and the incentive structures of academia.
In the summer of 2022, New Science will run an in-person research fellowship in Boston for young life scientists, during which they will collect preliminary data for an ambitious idea. A point of comparison is Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which started as a place where leading molecular biologists came for the summer to hang out and work on random projects together, and which eventually housed 8 Nobel Prize winners.
New Science’s plan for 2021 is to:
- Raise funding for the first year of operation
- Prepare for the summer in-person research fellowship for novice life scientists
- Dig into stories of great scientific achievement, the history and practice of scientific funding, and share essays about what we learn
Here are a few of the specific questions we would like to answer next:
- How do philanthropic organizations in the life sciences work? How do they impact the ecosystem, and how do they succeed and fail at facilitating the pursuit of great research?
- Similarly, how do governmental funding bodies like the NIH actually work?
- How can we make it easier for grad students, postdocs, and independent researchers to pursue ambitious research? How can we make it easier for career academics to pursue high-variance research without jeopardizing their long-term career prospects?
- How can people from technical backgrounds (software engineers, physicists, mathematicians) interested in but with little formal training in biology meaningfully contribute to research projects? How can we pair them with interested grad students, postdocs and PIs to get them started in research and to bring them to the frontier?
- How do we support error correction and fraud detection in science? People like Elisabeth Bik and James Heathers both left academia because there’s currently no place in science for people who, you know, correct errors in scientific literature.
- Why are universities so averse to hiring co-PIs?
- What is the economic value of scientific research decades away from commercialization?
If you want to join New Science in making the research world a better place, a good place to start is subscribing to our mailing list below. You can also apply for a job with us, support our work financially, apply for our summer 2022 fellowship as a student, mentor, or organizer, or reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And let’s make science advance one young scientist at a time, not one funeral at a time.