To help journalists better understand the growing field of science philanthropy, the Science Philanthropy Alliance organized a panel discussion at the 2017 World Conference for Science Journalists, held in San Francisco this past October. Moderator Tate Williams, science and environment editor at Inside Philanthropy, was joined by panelists Bob Tjian, Alliance consultant and former president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chonnettia Jones, director of insight and analysis at Wellcome Trust, Cyndi Atherton, director of the science program at the Heising-Simons Foundation, and Aaron Horvath, a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University Department of Sociology.
More than 100 reporters attended the panel, which explored a wide variety of topics, including the decline in government funding for basic science (and how the scale of philanthropy cannot replace public funding), partnerships between philanthropy and the government, and the benefits and risks of science philanthropy in a democratic society. The panel also discussed philanthropic practices such as measuring impact and effectiveness, funding early career scientists, the importance of advocating for science, and how philanthropists get input from scientists and the community.
From left to right: panelists Bob Tjian, former president of HHMI; Chonnettia Jones, Wellcome Trust; Cyndi Atherton, Heising-Simons Foundation; Aaron Horvath, Stanford University