Friday, August 18, 2017

Susan Fitzpatrick, Vice President, James S. McDonnell Foundation


Susan Fitzpatrick is vice president of the James S. McDonnell Foundation, a philanthropy supporting research in the neurosciences.  Fitzpatrick is renowned for her ability to rethink the obvious – not only to question the status quo, but to offer serious alternatives that significantly transform our capacity to think and act differently.  Whether the topic is science funding broadly speaking, or biomedical research funding more specifically, Fitzpatrick has challenges for us.  Why have we designed a federal science funding system that discourages innovation and ingenuity in favor of deeply entrenched safe bets?  What is the relationship between science funding decisions and outcomes that matter to people?  What is the relationship between promises made by scientists in the quest for funding, and the actual achievements of their research?  These are some of the questions she brings to the fore, and through her funding initiatives, mentorship of colleagues (both junior and more senior), and service to the scientific research community, Fitzpatrick has devoted herself to cultivating science with impact.  Her blog, Scientific Philanthropy, looks at issues at the intersection of science, society and philanthropy.  Fitzpatrick received her Ph.D. in biochemistry and neurology from Cornell University Medical College in 1984.

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