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Bruce Alberts on Innovation

As a reviewer for the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in 2007, Science editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts says that his pile of applications contained "bold, original ideas" and that "at least 4 of my 35 should have been funded." None were, he adds. Alberts says that this grant award and similar ones focused on innovation "make a big difference to those who receive them. But there are far too few to change the culture for scientists starting new labs," he writes. "Most remain unwilling to take the risk of pursuing ambitious ideas, recognizing that extensive preliminary results will be required to obtain funding from a traditional study section." At Adaptive Complexity, Michael White adds: "We need to overhaul the way bread-and-butter R01's get evaluated, so that near-certain feasibility is not the top criterion for funding."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.