$`100,000

Target

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Why Support Leverage Research?
 

For many years, Leverage Research brought together thinkers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to create a multifaceted intellectual and cultural environment. Our belief was that by creating the conditions for open inquiry, challenged and supported by others doing the same, we could maximize research progress on a number of key questions in the social sciences.

 

The result was both a huge stockpile of research and the lasting conviction that through design, planning, and care, it is possible to figure out new things about the world.

 

We’ve started publishing and speaking about our previous research in a variety of forms, and we’re looking forward to sharing more. At the same time, we now have exciting new programs devoted to answering further important questions and applying the results of our past work.

 

By donating to Leverage Research today, you can support people who help to make new endeavors possible, and contribute to a world where the responsible development of science and technology leads to flourishing and prosperity for all.

For many years, Leverage Research brought together thinkers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to create a multifaceted intellectual and cultural environment. Our belief was that by creating the conditions for open inquiry, challenged and supported by others doing the same, we could maximize research progress on a number of key questions in the social sciences.

 

The result was both a huge stockpile of research and the lasting conviction that through design, planning, and care, it is possible to figure out new things about the world.

 

We’ve started publishing and speaking about our previous research in a variety of forms, and we’re looking forward to sharing more. At the same time, we now have exciting new programs devoted to answering further important questions and applying the results of our past work.

 

By donating to Leverage Research today, you can support people who help to make new endeavors possible, and contribute to a world where the responsible development of science and technology leads to flourishing and prosperity for all.

Our Programs
 

everage Research has three main programs now, all intended to contribute substantially to progress in science and technology.

 

History of Science — Many people have raised concerns about scientific stagnation, and some have proposed that we study science itself as a solution. We think the best way to study science is through the history of successful sciences, i.e., the history of discovery. Through in-depth case studies on major discoveries in the history of successful sciences, we believe it is possible to make it easier to learn how to make new breakthroughs today.

 

Exploratory Psychology — Much of the institute’s earlier work was in psychology, studying and mapping out parts of the human mind. The tools and practices we developed were adequate for a team of 15-20 researchers to engage in a far-reaching exploration of the structure of both the conscious and unconscious mind. Now we’re preparing to release materials to allow other researchers to replicate our experiments, test our hypotheses, and run new experiments of their own.

 

Bottlenecks in Science and Technology — Over the past decade we’ve heard competing narratives about scientific and technological progress. In some domains, like information technology, it has seemed as though progress is going faster and faster. In others, such as energy and transportation, people have questioned whether we’re making progress at all. Through our Bottlenecks in Science and Technology initiative, we hope to help people answer the question of how much progress is really being made, and see how we can make progress faster.

2021 Winter Fundraiser
 

We’re doing our first public fundraiser!

We spent almost ten years behind closed doors, focused almost single-mindedly on our research. Since 2019, we’ve opened up and now we’re sharing the results of our research with the world. Throughout the years, and especially in the past few months, we’ve received words of kindness and encouragement from many people who believe in our work or in us personally. We are now seeking to develop a broad base of support, so if you do support us, now is the time to show it. Every donor and every donation counts. By giving now you can help us ensure that our past, present, and future work will have all the impact it can.

 

$100,000

Target

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Our Work in 2021
 

In 2021, we made progress on all of our programs, including the Bottlenecks in Science and Technology program, which we initiated this year.

 

As part of our History of Science program, we published two case studies on important discoveries in the history of electricity:

 

 

and will complete a third before year’s end:

 

  • Franklin’s theory of the Leyden jar and invention of the lightning rod.

 

We also transcribed three of Ewald von Kleist’s early letters from Kurrant script to German and translated them to English, and have a paper under review for publication in a prominent history of science journal.

 

With respect to our Exploratory Psychology program, we began assembling an experimental starter pack or kit for amateur and professional psychology researchers, modeling this on the examples of how both of the fields of early electricity and early magnetism began. Our plan is to release this starter pack online, in installments, with a moderated public forum designed for experimenters, and to supplement this with suitable warnings about the potential dangers of psychological experimentation. 

 

We launched our Bottlenecks in Science and Technology program this summer, when we co-organized the Bottlenecks in Science Technology workshop (aka Bottlenecks 2021) in Denver, Colorado at the headquarters of Boom Supersonic. The workshop brought together almost thirty-five researchers, funders, and thinkers to discuss and think about the bottlenecks in fields as diverse and fusion energy, neuropsychiatry, positional chemistry, and metagenomic sequencing. The workshop received excellent reviews, yielded a spin-off Bottlenecks: London workshop, and we have been in talks with groups about future workshops devoted to related themes.

 

We’ve also made a lot more progress sharing our past work and the current perspective built on that work, through various podcast interviews, articles, newslettersresearch reports, and more.

Plans for 2022
 

Over the next year, we plan to advance each of our programs and make more progress communicating about the institute and our work.

 

With respect to our History of Science program, we expect to complete more case studies in the history of successful sciences, and begin seeking much more engagement with academic researchers. We’ve thought of a number of possible conferences we could organize, and hope to have our first of many academic publications.

 

Regarding the Exploratory Psychology program, we intend to release guidance about the risks and dangers of psychological experimentation and then start making available some of our psychological research tools. Our current plan is to start with “belief reporting,” the introspective method we developed in 2014, and then proceed through charting, connection theory, and more.

 

For our Bottlenecks in Science and Technology program, we are planning to co-organize several events, including Bottlenecks 2022, and sponsor or otherwise contribute to the creation of blueprints for advances in many different fields. We expect these blueprints to include analyses of bottlenecks in the fields, roadmaps for future progress, and plans for how to finance and structure the concrete projects which will drive advance.

 

Throughout 2022, we also intend to expand our communication about our history, both as an institution and in terms of the content of our research.

2022 Finances
 

Baseline Budget: $300,000
 

Our baseline budget for 2022 is $300,000. This is the amount of money we estimate we would need to continue our operations as they are with four full-time staff working remotely. We would expect this spending to be split across the different areas of our work as follows:

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Target Budget: $500,000
 

With enough support from donors, we plan to expand our budget in 2022 to add two additional hires and an in-person office along with small amounts of additional spending on contractors, software, and other items that would support our programs. This would take our 2022 budget up to $500,000 with the area breakdown as follows:

2022 Target Budget Pie Chart.png

About These Figures
 

By default, the money we raise will be allocated proportionally across our programs.

 

Neither of the above budgets or breakdowns includes the cost of any events we plan to run in 2022 such as the Bottlenecks workshops as we will fundraise for these separately in conjunction with those we work with on the events. 

Our baseline and target budgets are preliminary estimates for 2022. We expect to share an updated budget along with our annual report in January 2022. If you have any questions about our finances in the meantime, please get in touch.

What We Need and Ways You Can Help
 

We are aiming to raise $100,000 from individual donors in our first public fundraiser.


As part of our commitment to building a broad base of support, we are restricting the maximum donations we will accept per person or organization so as to set up our own fundraising incentives better. Apart from the Thiel Foundation, which is donating $135,000 per year for the next few years (just short of half of our present baseline budget), we have limited ourselves to raising a maximum of $50,000 per organization and $10,000 per individual per year.


This self-imposed restriction is aimed at incentivizing us to develop a broad base of support and keep the size of the institute in step with the public’s understanding of our work. We reasoned that now that part of our mission is to understand, support, and communicate the value of early stage science as a means to aiding progress, it makes sense to tie the funding of the institute more closely to metrics we care about. The degree to which individuals and organizations give strong signals of support, such as donations, provides an indicator of how much people in the relevant spaces recognize the value of our work.


We measure our base of support not only in dollars contributed but in the number and variety of individuals who contribute. Knowing who supports us helps us maintain our motivation even in the face of opposition, and the more people we know believe in our cause, the better we can communicate to the public the strength of our resolve.


With this in mind, both donations (even donations under $100) and expressions of support are very welcome.

 

If you would like to support us but cannot do so financially this year, you could:

Tweet about our fundraiser

Find Out More
 

  • Annual Report — our Annual Report for 2019-2020

  • Ask us questions — form for questions and information requests

  • Gather AMA — come to our virtual office on Thursday, December 2nd at 12pm Pacific Time