Today, RCSA has three programs that fund early career scientists:
Since its founding in 1912, Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) has been a catalyst for transformative research in science and science education. It has focused heavily on supporting high-risk high-reward science and, in doing so, has been a consistent funder of early career scientists, with whom ground-breaking research is frequently associated.
Early career scientists are typically those within the first 10 years of their academic careers – generally pre-tenure and assistant professors. It is a fact that in most fields of human endeavor well-educated, bright, young people simply have the most innovative ideas. They are less constrained by well established paradigms and preconceived notions, and they are eager to establish themselves. They also tend to be enthusiastic, highly effective teachers.
Early career scientists are also eager to create their own labs and develop a funding stream for their research. Even a $25,000 grant can have a significant impact as it establishes their credibility, encourages their career ambitions and helps start their labs. As RCSA’s founder, the inventor Frederick Gardner Cottrell, advised: “Bet on the youngsters. They are long shots, but some of them pay off.” And many of them have.
In total, 40 eventual Nobel Prize-winners have received early career research funding from RCSA, including E.O. Lawrence (for whom the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories are named), Thomas Cech (former President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute), and Carl Wieman, who served for President Barack Obama as Associate Director for Science at the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Others, too, have gone on to great distinction. University of Arizona Professor Roger Angel, astronomy, is a 1996 MacArthur “genius grant” recipient. Dr. Angel received two RCSA grants within four years of receiving his doctorate. He subsequently founded and still runs the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mirror Lab and in 2010 won the coveted Kavli Prize in astrophysics. The Lab’s pioneering work began literally with a backyard experiment by Dr. Angel 30 years ago. He and the Lab have gone on to cast 6.5-meter mirrors for the Multi-Mirror Telescope and the two Magellan Telescopes, plus two 8.4-meter mirrors for the Large Binocular Telescope – a transformative instrument supported by RCSA funding as well.
He has also received funds through RCSA’s Scialog program to aid in the development of his innovative, low cost solar concentrator system for generating photovoltaic power. In November 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy, through its SunShot Initiative, invested $1 million to commercialize the project. The SunShot money will be doled out to REhnu Inc., a company Angel co-founded, as it meets certain goals to mass-produce the concentrator systems.
© 2013 RESEARCH CORPORATION FOR SCIENCE ADVANCEMENT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. | CONTACT