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SBE 2020: Submission Detail

ID Number: 11
Title: A Rationale for Funding Large Proof of Concept Proposals
Lead Author: Wright, Robert E.
Abstract: The NSF should leverage its excellent track record of sponsoring important, high quality, high value research by extending its SBE Directorate into a new realm, large proof of concept projects. Researchers sometimes develop ideas of tremendous potential value to society but most such transformative ideas cannot be proven with models, statistics, or other scholarly tools. Rather, they must be implemented in the real world on a fairly substantial scale before their quality can be assessed by policymakers or businesses. Unfortunately, many big think ideas never get tested in the real world due to a large gap between public and private research funding. Businesses rarely fund research that entails large expenditures and high degrees of uncertainty about rates of return. Governments, by contrast, often fund research with little or no clear commercial application. To date, however, they have not typically funded the large scale trial of innovative new policies or markets, though their competency and the rationale for them doing so is quite well established. Finally, the cost of not funding such potentially important projects is becoming increasingly clear.
PDF: Wright_Robert_11.pdf

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