NSF News

NSF partners with the Institute for Progress to test new mechanisms for funding research and innovation

The U.S. National Science Foundation and the Institute for Progress (IFP), with its Metascience Working Group, today announced an agreement to design and execute experiments to explore how the agency funds and supports research and innovation.

The "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022" charged NSF with considering alternatives to, or experimentation within, NSF's traditional processes for receiving, reviewing, and funding research and innovation. Under this agreement, IFP will design and implement one or more economic and social experiments, statistical tests of a hypothesis.

"The NSF merit review process is the gold standard for evaluating the most promising research," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "We know there are always ways to improve, and these 'science of science' experiments will allow us to test new mechanisms to accelerate decision making. The results will enhance how NSF makes investments by reducing turnaround time on final decisions, allowing greater flexibility in pivoting projects toward maximal impacts, and developing new pathways for researchers."

Over the course of the collaboration, IFP will consult with NSF on the current funding mechanisms and review processes used by the agency to decide which proposals to award and will propose tests for different ways to fund high-risk and high-reward proposals. IFP will then help develop tests of different mechanisms of interest to NSF staff, as well as potential analyses of NSF data to measure the outputs of NSF funding.

Learn more about IFP on the Institute for Progress website. Learn more about the working group on the Metascience Working Group webpage.