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Burhan Saif Addin

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Securitization of Scientific Research

MIT economist Andrew Lo argue that important scientific problems can be securtisied to accelerate scientific research to solve significant problems with huge economic returns such as cancers, renewable energy sources, and Global Warming. Securitisation will bring massive amount of capital, labor and collective intelligence that are needed to solve important but very tough problems. He says that figuring out the related science and the necessary financial structure to solve important research problems will generate competitive financial returns over the long run.

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  • May 14 2011: Thank you Zdenek Smith and Debra Smith for your enriching comments ....
  • May 14 2011: Debra Securitization is about the democratization of finance and investing ... The ownership of ideas, patents, technologies etc need not be different than the current firms/start-ups practices. The information will eventually go to the public domain but even before it goes public, their application would have benefited the humanity
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      May 14 2011: Hello Burhan,

      thanks for engaging me in this dialogue. As a woman with an MBA, I am aware of the processes of finance and of investing. I still have huge reservations about the influx of capital into scientific advancements that are on the cusp of bearing fruit. The decoding of DNA was done as a cooperative effort around the world for the benefit of mankind and I love that model.

      Are you aware of the recent work by Michael Porter on corporate social value? This is a model that I am far more committed to. You can find his work in the Harvard Business Review (and a presentation is also on Youtube.)

      As a note in passing, my son was assigned with his wife to the Canadian embassy in Ryhad for a few years and had an amazing experience in your country. I sent one of my twins to visit and he got to spend time on your stock exchange observing.
  • May 14 2011: Zdenek in my opinion there is no shortage of supply in good ideas and great people. Also, a free market approach will allocate the money efficiently. Some projects will fail and some will success. Science is about experimentation and more money will allow you to do more experiments....
  • May 12 2011: I agree that we could have better results if we were to find a way to fund scientific research that is focused on most pressing long term problems.

    The difficulty comes with ensuring that the right people lead these projects. Money is not the only necessary ingredient in a successful scientific research enterprise. Without the right people the project will fail. I am not sure what the solution is to this aside from existing corporate world that is motivated by profit and companies with failed projects cease to exist.

    Sometimes limited resources is a good thing as it can ignite innovation and different kind of thinking. A good example is Microsoft with billions in the bank and relatively unsuccessful research division compared to start up companies with little or no money changing the world.
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      May 12 2011: Securitized means kept in the hands of the few.

      My fear with a concerted approach like this is that the final solutions will be the proprietary property of the few and notof the human family. In the system of academic advancement through cooperative effort around the world we have solutions which are in part proprietary but the bulk of the information remains in the public domain and it is published to support more advancements to help more of the people. If the information becomes the property of investors or corprations a lot of people will never be able to afford the advancements that will be urgently needed to save lives.
      • May 14 2011: My understanding of 'Securitization' of scientific research is to make it in some form available to investors as securities in global markets to buy and sell, thus invest in certain types of research?

        I agree with you Debra that we need to ensure that companies do not trademark or copyright what should stay in public domain like genetic material. I think currently the trademark/copyright system is broken, abused and it is slowing innovation. We need to allow more freedom of information sharing.