University of Southern California — Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (July 2019)


Grant investigator: Alexander Berger

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigator. SSGAC staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $2,250,000 to the University of Southern California (USC) to support the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC). Our understanding is that SSGAC has received substantially less funding to date than comparable consortia (such as in psychiatric genetics), but still produces high-quality, replicable research and serves as a model of careful public communication, most notably through their discussions of frequently asked questions. Approximately 20% of this grant is intended to support work on bioethics and the public discussion of these topics.

This follows our January 2019 support for USC and falls within our interest in scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing tools and techniques.

University of Southern California — Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (January 2019)

 

Grant investigator: Alexander Berger

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigator. SSGAC staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $2,250,000 to the University of Southern California (USC) to support the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC). Our understanding is that SSGAC has received substantially less funding to date than comparable consortia (such as in psychiatric genetics), but still produces high-quality, replicable research and serves as a model of careful public communication, most notably through their discussions of frequently asked questions. Approximately 20% of this grant is intended to support work on bioethics and the public discussion of these topics.

This follows our April 2016 support for USC and falls within our interest in scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing tools and techniques.

University of Southern California — Genomic Research Methods

University of Southern California staff reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended two grants totaling $1,738,500 to the University of Southern California to support the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC) and the Behavioral and Health Genomics Center. These grants fall within our interest in funding basic scientific research, and specifically within our interest in advancing tools and techniques.

We hope that our support of this work will advance scientific tools and techniques in several ways, including:

  • By developing cross-cuttingly useful advances in the analysis of data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The researchers plan to develop tools for combining data on genetic associations between multiple traits, hopefully increasing statistical power (which effectively increase sample sizes) across all kinds of medical GWAS, which could make many kinds of medical research less expensive, and accordingly could accelerate new discoveries.
  • By combining data from multiple sources (including data from consumer genetics companies) and developing polygenic scores (or scoring methods) that can be distributed freely as public goods. This could eventually help make social science research more statistically informative, which in turn could make it easier and less expensive to assess the efficacy of interventions designed to improve educational attainment or other outcomes by reducing unexplained variance.

Our understanding is that SSGAC has received substantially less funding to date than comparable consortia (such as in psychiatric genetics), but still produces high-quality, replicable research and serves as a model of careful public communication, most notably through their discussions of frequently asked questions.