How Wealthy Private Investors Might Save Climate Research
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
President Trump has made sweeping changes in his first week in office. Scientific research—specifically environmental programs—have seen a huge hit. The new administration quietly froze all Environment Protection Agency (EPA) grants, as well as ordered a gag order on any employees from going public about it. Following that, the organization was forced to remove pages from its websites about climate change, according to sources talking to Reuters.
Many fear more actions like this are on the horizon. As the fate of research-oriented, policy-driven organizations like the EPA appear to be under threat, the future of these program’s objective work may rely on financial sources outside of governance. Concerned private citizens and their affiliated businesses are likely going to take the front seat for funding future research to ensure up-to-date research keeps apace.
Many scientists I’ve spoken with have all indicated that they expect a funding paradigm shift, one that doesn’t expect public sources to be the primary donors and instead more actively seeks out new avenues.
While this change began well before the new administration took office, anxiety about the future of programs like the EPA will likely cause more institutions to branch out and seek new and unique partnerships. Most of these private donors are undoubtedly wealthy, but they’re not strictly philanthropists.