Robert Downey Jr.'s FootPrint Coalition Funds Fast Grants for New Environmental Science + Tech Fields

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — FootPrint Coalition (FPC) (https://www.footprintcoalition.com), founded by Robert Downey Jr., is launching the FootPrint Coalition Science Engine (https://www.footprintcoalition.com/scienceengine), continuing its efforts to broaden access to the technologies addressing our climate and biodiversity crises.

The Science Engine platform will provide individual scientists – in several emerging environmental fields – seed funding as well as an opportunity to speak directly to audiences looking for innovative ways to support planetary restoration.

“FootPrint Coalition’s Science Engine is designed for radical participation. We know that scientists are capable of making the rapid progress the planet needs; we saw it globally during the pandemic. This is about removing red tape and creating support systems for them,” says Robert Downey Jr.

The program works differently from traditional science funding mechanisms, which normally allocate funding through review panels and lengthy application processes.

“The Fast Grants response to COVID-19 proved that science funding could move much faster. We’re building on that insight and adding even more transparency and immediacy for funding high-risk, high-reward ideas,” says David Lang, Head of the Experiment Foundation.

In this case, the Science Engine uses the Experiment (https://www.experiment.com) platform’s open proposal process, allowing scientists from anywhere to apply. Next, scientific advisors, deemed Science Leads, who specialize in FootPrint Coalition’s chosen fields, are able to make quick decisions about how and where to allocate the seed funding for their category. By leveraging Experiment’s crowdfunding feature, anyone can join as a science co-funder.

The first Science Leads and topics are:

– Dr. Keolu Fox, assistant professor at UC San Diego: for Indigenous researchers and Indigenous futures projects. A Native Hawaiian, Fox believes Indigenous knowledge holds the keys to rebuilding humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The Indigenous Futures fund seeks to empower the Indigenous researchers and innovators who are asking the right questions and bringing that knowledge into action.

– Dr. Sacoby Wilson, associate professor at the University of Maryland: for community science and environmental justice projects. The effects of air, water, and soil pollution fall disproportionately on low-wealth Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) populations. Community-based participatory research provides a model and tools for bringing science and research into the neighborhoods most impacted by pollution and climate change.

– Dr. Bridget Baumgartner and Ryan Phelan, leaders at Revive & Restore: for conservation biotech projects. These projects leverage emerging biotechnology research to understand, monitor, and sometimes intervene in ecosystems. Whether using eDNA to monitor marine environments or increasing the genetic diversity of endangered species, these new tools are becoming important and ubiquitous.

Isha Datar, Alberta-based Executive Director of New Harvest: for projects in cellular agriculture. Cellular agriculture is the production of agricultural products such as meat, milk, and eggs from cell cultures rather than whole animals. These projects will take place in or out of the lab — in fact, projects exploring the social, economic, and political dimensions of cellular agriculture.

James Weis, MIT PhD and entrepreneur: for augmented discovery with the help of machine learning algorithms. Science and technology advancements are critical to navigating our way to a healthier planet. Artificial intelligence could help us find the next big breakthrough faster than we could on our own.

“Changing human behavior is proving a slow and inadequate solution when it comes to reversing the degradation of the planet. We need to instead focus on changing our systems as rapidly as possible,and one way to jumpstart that is by giving a large number of scientists an opportunity to problem solve as quickly as they can. There will be more new fields to come, more new funders to join us — this is just the beginning,” says Rachel Kropa, FPC’s Managing Director of Nonprofit + Science.

FootPrint Coalition (https://www.footprintcoalition.com) is a business and nonprofit solely focused on the development, adoption and scaling of sustainable technologies. Its nonprofit arm advances research in environmental technology fields and promotes solutions; its venture capital arm invests in high growth sustainable technology companies; and its media arm tells stories to create collaboration, inform, and inspire.

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robert-downey-jrs-footprint-coalition-funds-fast-grants-for-new-environmental-science–tech-fields-301447267.html

SOURCE FootPrint Coalition

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