Welcome to the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative
Welcome to the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with support from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Launched in 2003, NAKFI has been catalyzing interdisciplinary research at the intersection of science, engineering and medicine, and enhancing education among researchers, funding organizations, and universities. We also support scientific communication by awarding four $20,000 cash prizes to those who bring science, engineering and medicine to the public through books, newspapers, television, radio, films and online media. We are an important component of the pursuit of discovery that President Obama, in his speech at the NAS annual meeting, said is necessary to fuel our prosperity and success as a nation for the next 50 years.
NAKFI’s objectives include enhancing the climate for conducting interdisciplinary research, and breaking down related institutional and systemic barriers. We work toward these objectives by harnessing the intellectual horsepower of approximately 150 of the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds who apply to attend our annual “think-tank” style conference to contemplate the real world challenges of our day; and by awarding seed grants – on a competitive basis – to conference participants to enable further pursuit of bold, new ideas and inspirations generated at the conference. The generative ideas that surface in this process are the impetus for collaborative efforts with new partners toward new frontiers, and often remind us that the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
If you’re interested in interdisciplinary discovery and being part of an intellectually stimulating community, sign up for our email alerts and apply to attend our next conference. Conference attendees comprise the “Futures Network,” a virtual community to connect with fellow NAKFI alumni, share research ideas, search for collaborators and funders, and further the breakthroughs discovered through the NAKFI experience.