- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
New Boost for Interdisciplinary Research
21 April 2003 (All day)
The National Academies will hold its first-ever grants competition as part of a $40 million gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation. The 15-year donation, which is intended to foster interdisciplinary research, will also put the foundation's name on the academies' new office building in Washington, D.C.
"The Futures Initiative is designed to create a powerful, ongoing forum where the best and brightest minds from across the disciplines of science, technology, and medical research can come together and ask each other, 'What if ...?' " said Robert Day, chair and chief executive officer of the W. M. Keck Foundation, in announcing the gift last week. The centerpiece of the initiative will be an invitation-only, twice-a-year conference at which scientists will generate ideas for proposals. The first, on cell signaling, will be held 14 to 15 November at the academies' West Coast offices in Irvine, California.
The conferences will be organized by a panel drawn from the membership of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, which will also review proposals. Only invited participants will be allowed to apply for one of the four $200,000 seed grants to be awarded each year. The academies will also invite officials from funding agencies to "introduce them to the culture of interdisciplinary thinking," according to a spokesperson. "The seed grants are intended to get innovative projects off the ground," says Ken Fulton, NAS executive director and head of the Futures Initiative. "Once a project gets going, the researcher can take it to a funding agency for more money."
A broader goal of the program, says Fulton, is to bring about structural changes in funding organizations and academic institutions. Toward that end, the academies are launching a study to identify shortcomings in funding procedures and policies that hinder interdisciplinary science. The initiative also includes three $20,000 awards made annually to researchers, authors, film-makers, or journalists who excel in communicating science to the public.