T. Ben Thompson (Ben) is a computational scientist and software engineer with deep experience in building open-source software for physical simulation and machine learning. While working on his Ph.D. in Earth Science at Harvard, Ben built tools to simulate geometrically realistic earthquakes. More recently at QuantCo, Ben collaborated with economists to build machine-learning systems in e-commerce and insurance. Currently, Ben is starting a company building new statistical-validation tools to help run complex and adaptive drug trials. Ben is also driven to accelerate the scientific process by creating individual-contributor career paths in academia for hands-on technically talented senior scientists.
Federal STEM-funding agencies — led by NSF and NIH, as the two largest sources of federal funding for academic research — should explore and pursue strategies for changing grant-funding incentives in ways that strengthen and elevate the role of the career research scientist in academia.