It all has to start somewhere! The novel ideas generated by inquisitive scientists have for centuries lead to discoveries and innovations for the betterment of mankind. Science is the ultimate example of ‘applied history’ where the lessons learnt have been applied by future generations. They in turn make their own discoveries, learn new things and provide opportunities to deliver new community benefits. This investigator initiated blue sky research is a vital foundation stone upon which the health and well being of our community, environment and quality of life depend.

Blue sky research however is not enough to deliver community benefits. The research needs to be translated into methods, products and policies that can be applied in the general community. This requires additional expertise, resources, time and experience that is generally not supported by the traditional application of research grants such as those provided by the NHMRC or ARC.

Translational research requires the support of others including; entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, philanthropists and industry. It also requires new skill sets and introduces foreign philosophies and concepts into the organisations and laboratories of those conducting blue sky research.

The philanthropic sector has a significant role to play in the realisation of these benefits, but new conversations and approaches are needed to develop programs and mechanisms to maximise these opportunities. Philanthropy can truly make a difference to the culture of research, innovation and the advancement of innovative opportunities to deliver socioeconomic benefits.

Philanthropy can go where others fear to tread

Author: NJC


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