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Transformative Basic Science

Many of the most impactful discoveries in the history of science have been novel, pathbreaking findings that enabled subsequent exploration of whole new areas. We aim to fund basic science that could end up playing that enabling role when we see it as neglected by other potential funders.

Our Work

Blog Post 4/2015

Research that achieves broadly applicable insights about biological processes and brings on many new promising directions for research is difficult to be assured of “results” in the sense of new clinical applications.

Grant 10/2018

This funding will support research to identify specific neurons involved in processing stimulation, changes in gene expression in neurons associated with chronic pain; and feedback that may be involved in resolving pain signals. This research will contribute to our understanding of chronic pain.

Grant 8/2018

This grant supports research into how the brain interprets different pain signals. Greater understanding in this area could help lead to the development of novel pain drugs that can block pain without also blocking consciousness.

Press 6/2018
from Scientific American

Researchers supported by Open Philanthropy believe they have identified a recipe to keep tumors from forming. Three U.S. universities will start testing the candidate vaccine’s ability to prevent all cancers in dogs.

Grant 4/2018

The funds will support four postdoctoral fellows for three years apiece. The fellows have proposed research projects investigating immunology, virology, neurobiology, and tuberculosis.

Press 12/2017
from Nature

Open Philanthropy acknowledges the high odds of failure of the basic research it funds. We asked scientists who had been rejected by the NIH competition for risky research to dust off their proposals, and awarded $10.8 million to four teams.

Blog Post 12/2017

We announced four grants totalling $10.8 million that represent a new approach to finding high-impact giving opportunities: piggybacking on a government grant program designed to find transformative research.

Grant 11/2017

Preventative vaccines that effectively reduce the incidence of cancer could be a less expensive way to provide decades of healthy life compared to current cancer therapies, which often only extend life for a few months or years.