Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science

"As government financing of basic science research has plunged, private donors have filled the void, raising questions about the future of research for the public good."

"The result is a new calculus of influence and priorities that the scientific community views with a mix of gratitude and trepidation."

"[…] a New York Times analysis shows that the 40 or so richest science donors who have signed a pledge to give most of their fortunes to charity have assets surpassing a quarter-trillion dollars."

"Science policy has always been shot through with politics. Little surprise, then, that political sensitivities have been stoked by the injection of philanthropic money into this traditionally public sphere."

"If government science is centralized, science philanthropy is determinedly not: It is an agglomeration of donors, from the wealthiest patrons to people who write modest checks to their favorite charities."

"If the map of the world of private science has yet to be drawn, one thing is clear: Much of the money is going into campaigns for a cure."

The article is a great read. It does a nice job of looking at the effects private funding, good or bad, does have and can have on scientific research.

Article on the +The New York Times: 

Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science
As government financing of basic research has fallen off precipitously, philanthropists have stepped in, setting priorities and drawing both gratitude and trepidation from scientists.

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