Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the foundation?

The Carl Correns Foundation is a small foundation with currently less than $50,000 of income per year. The goal is to provide funds for independent research in mathematical and theoretical biology. Too often, science is funded only as a highly collaborative and very expensive undertaking. This means research by consent. Consent is often required in the experimental sciences, but it can also stifle progress. We fund time for thought.

How do you fund research?

Starting from the observation that only personal funds are needed in theoretical research, and a scholarship may start at $3000/month, offering freedom and time to think and to plan, to build models and calculate results, a scientist-led foundation is an important project. We reach out to scholars to support research in our dedicated areas. We are also open to requests by established scientists for sabbatical support in any area of theoretical biology.

Why is it called the Carl Correns Foundation?

Carl Correns was a botanist and founder of genetics with two famous papers in 1900. While Correns cited Mendel and introduced him as the original thinker on plant breeding, who formulated natural laws of inheritance, Mendel’s work lacked statistical power, and was highly incomplete (‘intermediate inheritance’). Carl Correns emphasized the need for mathematical thinking in biology. He was an outsider to his field with hardly any income until he achieved his breakthrough. Many scientists believed that biology dealt with life forces, which could not be understood quantitatively. We chose Correns as the patron of our foundation because he would have benefited from it.

Where do you get your funds from?

We are currently funded exclusively by donations. We also have a small endowment that is safely invested and generates additional income. You can direct new donations to the endowment or to an ongoing collection for the next scholarship. In the future we may add grant money from proposals to extend our projects.

What are the plans and perspective for the foundation?

Mainly we would like to grow our funding base. We hope for an increase to $100,000 income annually within the next few years. We will improve our outreach efforts, ask scientists and board members for active fundraising and importantly push for a start-up in NeuroAI with an existing codebase. Further plans are to be able to use a donated, dedicated space for offices, meetings, events, and lectures in Europe, which may also serve as office space for spin-offs.

What have you achieved so far?

We founded the CCF in 2016, 8 years ago, and we were able to support five scholars so far, Sergej Nasonov, M.Sc., Florian Dietz, M.Sc., Michael Wheeldon, B.Sc., Louise Cabansay, M.Sc. and Ashwin Rammohan. They contributed to our project on novel neuron models and also genomics. This generated a significant codebase and a few publications.
On our timeline you will also occasionally see a link to a paper from our scientists which could use more scholar support. Please have a look at this work, especially if you can contribute to fund another scholar.
We also have a blog with paid content on medium and participate in public discussions on science and AI.

Which topics did you investigate?

We planned to focus our initial work on neurobiology and cancer biology. We have made significant progress in the investigation of neural plasticity and the construction of realistic neuron models, on which we have focused our efforts. With the growth of the endowment we would be able to take up other topics as well. Especially support for work on cancer biology would be highly welcome.

What about spin-offs for startups?

Start-ups in the field of NeuroAI have generated significant interest since 2023. We have worked on aspects of computational neuroscience since the start of the foundation. One of our goals is to release a platform for AI type neural research which will offer both free and paid subscriptions. A more ambitious goal is to provide a functional model type for decision-making based on our previous research. We are actively looking for investments in this space.

How can I help?

You can always contribute a small sum through paypal/credit card on our website. You may also ask for a matching sponsor for your contribution from our board members. Please contact us for a larger contribution (above $1000) for a direct deposit to our wells fargo account. You can ask to contribute to a dedicated scholar project, or to our general endowment. The latter will help us to become increasingly independent. The former may allow you to see the impact of your contribution more directly. We will allocate general donations as needed.

How can I apply for a scholarship?

If you are a computational or theoretical biologist, or intend to work in the field with at least a Master’s degree you may ask for an internship or a stipend for dedicated time off to investigate a topic of mutual interest. Please contact us for further questions.

Last changed: 4/24/2024