The Institute was created as the vehicle through which members of the Pragmatist Foundation deploy their capital in projects of differential utility: Projects that contribute to the goals of the organization while being unlikely to be funded by anyone else.
Academia to Entrepreneurship
An individual who has struggled through the life of a grad student has shown the drive and competence relevant to be a successful entrepreneur. That said, making the transition from the halls of academia to the business world without significant assistance can be difficult. The Institute provides structure (in the form of a miniature startup accelerator program), funding, connections, mentorship, room, and board to academics interested in creating and running their own cash-positive businesses. (We are not just looking for masters or PhD grads but, anyone who started down that path, even those who found it was not right for them.)
Novel Education Models
While research in early education has advanced by leaps and bounds, the current educational paradigm for the first eight years of life as practically implemented has primarily improved iteratively over the last half-century. Unfortunately, iterative changes leave fields at risk of a local optimum trap. We believe the case study of Laszlo Polgar demonstrates that there is merit to the idea that if there was a safe space to explore holistically different models of early education large gains might be made. The Institute aims to enable radical exploration along totally different lines of inquiry through the creation of case studies and centres in which trials of new educational methods can be executed, (starting with the founders' own children). Anyone engaged in programs offered by The Institute will have at least some involvement with this research.
Given the standard way in which findings are distributed and research is reported, studies tend to cluster around specific topics, which can cause otherwise developed fields to miss big questions. The Institute funds “charcoal rubbings” of fields in which a large comprehensive study is conducted with the purpose of finding concrete, actionable take away points (sometimes at the expense of statistical rigor). These studies focus on fields with immediate applicability to daily life through investigating questions like: “How do human arousal patterns manifest?” and “What experiences in the first year of life will affect long-term mental development?” through massive surveys looking for patterns of correlation in a way that would look like p hacking if done with the purpose of academic publication. Once a cohesive and thematic body of findings accumulates, The Institute funds the promotion of this research to the general public. We currently have two books to this effect that should be published within the next year. Even if a grant participant does not choose to write their own books, they will be expected to help with editing, brainstorming, etc. tied to future publications tied to this project.
Apply if this sounds interesting to you
Currently, we have one slot open in this program and are actively accepting and reviewing applications.