Scholarship Finalist Essay #2 – Olayinka Fasehun
Sponsored research has proven to be a guiding force in our society. Sponsored research projects allow major institutions such as universities, governments, and organizations to donate their funds to seasoned professionals and intellects for the sake of advancement in a field or industry. Sponsored research is advantageous to society because it provides funding for research of both the practical and immediate and the fantastical and futuristic causes.
At the University of Pennsylvania sponsored research plays a large part in much of the university’s notoriety. Researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine have developed what they believe to be a treatment for lymphocytic leukemia. According to Penn Medicine, “The protocol…provides a tumor-attack roadmap for the treatment of other cancers including those of the lung and ovaries and myeloma and melanoma.”[i] The research at the University of Pennsylvania was sponsored by the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy. The Alliance has given over $25 million in in grants over a period of 15 years. Their contributions to research efforts has propelled the practice of gene therapy and saved many lives.[ii] If not for the contributions made by the ACGT, we would be decades behind in the fight against cancer.
On the other hand, researchers at Cornell University have begun work on something once thought to be applicable only in fiction and fantasy. Researchers have developed plans and a model of a temporal invisibility cloak. The cloak bends the laws of time and space to hide objects. The cloak at first only worked with microwaves, but now can work with light, sound, and even ocean waves.[iii] The research efforts, led by Moti Fridman, are funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and the Cornell Center for Nanoscale Systems (supported by the National Science Foundation and the New York State Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation).[iv] The DARPA has made other contributions to defense sciences (through funding) such as GPS, the internet, and stealth aircraft while commissioning other important research efforts for the Department of Defense. Similarly, the NSF has made various contributions to not only science but also mathematics, engineering, and even the understanding of people and society. Without the support of the NSF we would never enjoy things such as fiber optics (in cable), edible vaccinations, and American Sign Language. Such research efforts are just a few examples of how the products of sponsored research have become commonplace in our lives.
Whether the uses are immediate and live saving, or far off in the future and sci-fiesque, sponsored research projects have multiple uses that help and empower a vast range of people. Without the contributions made by research institutions some of the world’s greatest achievements and advancements would not have been made. Neil Armstrong may never have walked the face of the moon. The effects of viruses such as polio, malaria, and smallpox would never have been reduced and, in the latter case, eradicated had it not been for the institutions that funded their valiant research efforts. Sponsored research allows the world’s greatest minds, both intellects and dreamers alike, to pursue their passions while changing lives for the better. While there is much yet to be discovered, sponsored research can put society a step in the right direction.
_______________________________[i] “Genetically Modified ‘Serial Killer’ T Cells Obliterate Tumors in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Penn Researchers Report.” Penn Medicine. Trustees of the U of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. <http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2011/08/t-cells/>. [ii] “Progress and Impact.” Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy. Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. <http://www.acgtfoundation.org/our-role-and-impact/progress-impact/>. [iii] “First Demonstration of Time Cloaking.” MIT Technology Review. MIT Technology Review, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://www.technologyreview.com/view/424682/first-demonstration-of-time-cloaking/>. [iv] “Now You See It, Now You Didn’t: Researchers Cloak a Moment in Time.” Science Daily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120106111312.htm>.
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