Science for Progress Initiative

Close up image of a microscope in a lab with two hands adjusting its scope.
Photo: Konstantin Kolosov | Shutterstock
The Science for Progress Initiative (SfPI) is designed to catalyze scientific research on the scientific process.

SfPI's purpose is to produce rigorous, quantitative evidence from randomized evaluations on the most effective approaches to funding and supporting scientific research—evidence that can inform both policy and practice. SfPI launched with generous financial support from Open Philanthropy, Schmidt Futures, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

SfPI builds on and amplifies the strength of our existing institutions by contributing to the field of metascience: that is, by turning the scientific method on itself. This involves rigorous, quantitative, causal analysis of questions like: What contracts, incentives and institutions work best when funding scientific research? What are the best ways to allocate research grants? How can we encourage the diffusion of socially valuable scientific discoveries out of scientific labs and academic papers, so as to encourage innovation and economic growth? And how can we ensure that the most talented individuals—including younger researchers, those entering science from non-traditional life and career paths, and more broadly members of traditionally under-represented groups—are not discouraged from pursuing science?

SfPI partners with leading organizations that fund and support scientific research and design science policy, including both public institutions and private philanthropies. It works in collaboration with the Institute for Progress (IFP), a nonpartisan think tank in Washington DC with an aligned mission and vision, as well as with the Federation of American Scientists. Its work is guided by an advisory committee covering an unusually broad spectrum, spanning the academic, philanthropic, public and private sectors.

Read more about SfPI.

For more information, contact us.

Key Facts

J-PAL Global
  • Research RFP: Open
Open to J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL invited researchers, PhD students advised by invited researchers or affiliates, J-PAL staff with PhDs, and J-PAL postdocs



Off-Cycle Proposals

The Science for Progress Initiative (SfPI) is currently accepting off-cycle proposals. Expressions of interest (EOIs) are required to be invited to submit a full proposal. EOIs will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and SfPI staff will aim to respond to applicants within two business days. Proposals will be considered in the order they are received, with decisions communicated within 2 weeks of the date of receipt. Please visit our Off-Cycle Proposals page for full information and instructions on how to apply.

Initiative Staff

McKenzie Leier, Policy Manager

Dakota Wyne, Senior Finance and Operations Associate 

Review Board

David Autor (MIT)

Pierre Azoulay (MIT)      

Ina Ganguli (UMass-Amherst)

Paul Niehaus (co-chair, UC San Diego)

Amanda Pallais (Harvard University)

Heidi Williams (co-chair, Stanford University)

Advisory Committee

Matt Clancy (Open Philanthropy)

Patrick Collison (Stripe)

Dan Correa (Federation of American Scientists)

Tyler Cowen (George Mason University)

Kumar Garg (Schmidt Futures)

Daniel Goroff (Sloan Foundation)

Bishakha Mona (Science Philanthropy Alliance)

Emily Oehlsen (Open Philanthropy)

Elaine Sevier (Research Theory)

Caleb Watney (Institute for Progress)

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