Research Syndicates

by whpearson1 min read1st Nov 201712 comments


Personal Blog

Let us assume we want to encourage people following high risk long term research paths. How might you do this without also just getting people sucking up the energy and not producing good research.

One possibility I've been musing about is research syndicates. This idea is that it might be a good idea for groups of disparate researchers to band together and form a syndicate. The syndicate main purpose would be a form of income sharing, any income going to one member (from a grant or other income) a portion would be shared with the rest. Lets say 75% to the group that got the income and 25% being split between the rest.

Why might this work

1) It helps young researchers get some income to get going with a promise that they will pay back to the syndicate if their research pans out.

2) There would be incentives to mentor the other researchers

3) Being part of a research syndicate would be a form of social proof, so they are to be looked on more seriously.

4) People being added to the syndicate is a costly signal on behalf of the syndicate members.

5) Spreads risk between research teams

6) Technical specialists are more likely to be able to recognise interesting researchers.

There would be a need to have exit clauses worked out. Probably being pretty costly to the people that want to exit or make someone else exit.

Anyone come across something like this being tried out? I think the activation energy for this is probably the legal work necessary.