Identifying a promising research idea, developing a research agenda, and finally implementing and supporting a research project, are all important steps in the work of the Fetzer Franklin Fund.
IDEA: In the search for new ideas the Fetzer Franklin Fund is guided by an awareness of the line that demarcates scientific from non-scientific possibilities. For example, a new idea – experimental or theoretical – might initially look like a promising research opportunity. However, after more analysis and exploratory work, the idea may turn out not to be testable as a scientific hypothesis. The opposite scenario drives progress at the scientific frontier. Successful translation of scientifically-grounded speculation becomes a workable research project. Much time is spent on identifying, evaluating, and tracking, novel ideas at the cutting edge of science and evaluating whether a new research project is feasible.
AGENDA: The next step of our work involves the co-development of a detailed research agenda and of methodological procedures and protocols for the conduct of a research project with a prospective collaborator. This includes the establishment of criteria for success, standards for quality control, appropriate statistical analysis, and the interpretation of the results. The research agenda is typically submitted to independent reviewers for comment and improvement.
PROJECT: Finally, after an agreement is reached with a potential collaborator on a detailed research agenda, a decision may be made to implement the research project and to provide financial support. The typical time frame for support is between one to four years. Typically, funding is at a moderate level and often adds to existing funds at a science-based institution. An agreement is also reached with the collaborator that the results of the study will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal whatever the research outcome may be.