2022 Annual Report
Together with our Board of Directors, I am pleased to share with you the annual report of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for the fiscal year 2022 We continue to operate in unprecedented times, and despite the challenges, the foundation was able to continue to make great strides towards our mission “to serve and strengthen society by nurturing a diverse group of leaders in biomedical sciences to improve human health through education and powering discovery in frontiers of greatest need”.
Throughout the year we achieved many successes and milestones, such as an increased focus on funding strategies in climate change and human health, diversity in science, and science-arts partnerships seeking to enhance and inspire science communication. We are confident that the additional funding will continue to advance our mission in these critical areas. The foundation continues to provide vital assistance to the research enterprise, and we are committed to ensuring that all of our programs are effective and efficient in supporting our community. We are also dedicated to building relationships with our partners and stakeholders to expand scientific reach and impact.
We recognize the importance of understanding the effects of climate change on the environment, human health and society. Climate change has already impacted the planet and has the potential to cause further widespread destruction if left unchecked, and research is key to developing strategies to mitigate its effects. Foundations often provide funding for research into climate change, as well as its effects on various industries, ecosystems, and communities. This research can be used to inform policy decisions, develop new technologies, and mitigate the risks associated with climate change. By investing in climate change research, foundations are helping to ensure that our planet is better prepared to face the uncertain future of a rapidly changing environment. One area we feel especially important is to inspire the next generation of scientists and educators to make the area of climate change their priority.
BWF’s recognizes that climate change has had a severe impact on human health over time and will continue to impact without mitigation strategies. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and air pollution are just a few of the impacts that are undermining health and well-being. Heatwaves, floods, and droughts have increased in frequency and intensity, leading to an increase in illnesses such as heat-related illnesses, respiratory problems, and water-borne diseases. Changes in climate can also lead to an increase in insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and Lyme disease by changing vector-pathogen geography. Moreover, air pollution from burning fossil fuels has been linked to a range of health issues, from asthma to heart disease. As the climate continues to change, the impacts on human health are likely to become even more severe.
We have made great strides in promoting and creating effective strategies around our Diversity in Science initiatives. This has provided opportunities to bring together a range of perspectives and experiences that can help us to better understand and solve complex problems. Diversity of thought and experience can help us to identify and address potential biases that can have a negative impact on the scientific process. Additionally, by promoting diversity and inclusion in science, we can work to ensure that everyone can contribute to research and innovation, and to benefit from the outcomes of those efforts. Science has a place in everyone’s lives, whether a scientist or not, and everyone should have the opportunity to envision themselves being a scientist. In short, diversity is essential for enabling us to make the most of our collective potential and to move science forward.
We have continued to build upon our investments in the Science Communication program area. This is important as it helps bridge the gap between scientific discovery and the general public. Through science communication, scientists can explain their findings to the public in an understandable and accessible manner. This communication can lead to an increased understanding of science and its implications, as well as increased public engagement with the scientific process. Additionally, science communication can help researchers gain support for their work and inspire others, which can lead to even more research and discovery.
The connection between art and science is an important one. Art and science involve creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking. Many of the same skills used in scientific experiments and discoveries can be used in creating art. For example, artists often use knowledge of color theory to create interesting and vibrant pieces and use mathematical equations to create detailed and precise drawings.
Additionally, scientific advances have made art more accessible and diverse. New technologies for printing, sculpting, and digital art have allowed for new types of art to be created and shared. The connection between art and science is a strong one and we hope to continue to foster this connection through continued funding mechanisms.
Thank you for your support of the foundation. We look forward to working together in 2023 to achieve our goals and to grow our impact in the scientific community.
Louis J. Muglia, MD, PhD
President and CEO
Burroughs Wellcome Fund