The U.S. government is ill-equipped to fund R&D projects that require tight coordination and teamwork to create public goods. The majority of government-funded research outside of the defense sphere—including research funded through the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E)—is outsourced to externalized collaborations of university labs and/or commercial organizations. However, the academic reward structure favors individual credit and discourages systematic teamwork. Commercial incentives encourage teamwork but discourage the production of public goods. As a result, the United States is falling behind in key areas like microfabrication and human genomics to countries with greater abilities to centralize and accelerate focused research.
The solution is to enable the U.S. government to fund centralized research programs, termed Focused Research Organizations (FROs), to address well-defined challenges that require scale and coordination but that are not immediately profitable. FROs would be stand-alone “moonshot organizations” insulated from both academic and commercial incentive structures. FROs would be organized like startups, but they would pursue well-defined R&D goals in the public interest and would be accountable to their funding organizations rather than to shareholders. Each FRO would strive to accelerate a key R&D area via “multiplier effects” (such as dramatically reducing the cost of collecting critical scientific data), provide the United States with a decisive competitive advantage in that area, and de-risk substantial follow-on investment from the private and/or public sectors. Some FROs would lay the engineering foundations for subsequent government investment in programs similar in scope to the Human Genome Project.
Below, we have published an assortment of proposals we believe are worthy of the FRO model.
Systematically sequencing the genome and studying the function of genes from viruses will enable the development of phage-gene libraries that can in turn enable the faster development of genetic tools for advancing molecular biology.
Research and engineering to reverse antibiotic resistance in aquatic bacteria, through the application of a well-validated CRISPR-based genetic system, can help catalyze safer, more sustainable land-based aquaculture as a nutritious and affordable food source.
RNA therapeutics are gaining popularity since they are cheap and easy to make, but sequencing technologies today rely on converting RNA back to cDNA, which collapses information on the more than 150 different chemically modified bases for RNA into just four bases.
Humanity needs catalysts to create fuel, feedstocks to make materials, and fertilizers to grow food. Catalysts allow us to arrange atoms into the molecules we need with extremely high selectivity, cleanliness, and low energy input.
Many antibodies that scientists purchase from commercial manufacturers to conduct their research do not work as advertised, because most have never been validated properly.
The [C]Worthy Project will create first-of-its-kind, open-source software infrastructure for ocean carbon measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) to help drive the nascent marine-based carbon dioxide removal market.
Our current knowledge of the biochemical compounds in food is incredibly limited, but existing databases of MassSpec scans contain massive amounts of untapped, unannotated information about food ingredients.
人工智能的地方艰苦的要求啊n current computing hardware, but the integration of semiconductors, superconductors, and optical hardware will create revolutionary new tools for AI. Problem Statement Digital computers are excellent for number crunching, but their operations and architecture contrast with the operations that support intelligence. When used for AI, vast amounts of energy, data, […]