MacArthur 100&Change Competition

For the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition, I oversaw the development of a proposal to rapidly assess the prevalence and health risks of thousands of manufactured chemicals, drawing on analytical chemistry, environmental toxicology, systems biology, and predictive analytics. Titled “Mapping the Chemosphere,” the application included a 90-second video I wrote and produced with the help of animator Joe Presser and videographer Jo Throckmorton.

The MacArthur Foundation received more than 1,900 proposals, which were rated on four criteria: Meaningful, Verifiable, Feasible, and Durable.

Our proposal finished in the top 40. Among the comments from the review panel:

(On Meaningful:) “A very bold proposal —  it solves an important and urgent problem that otherwise would not be: to address and prevent human health problems caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. Mapping the Chemosphere through identification of the top 10,000 toxic chemicals will significantly impact public health, influence public policy and foster changes in production/manufacturing and private sector practices toward safety and sustainability. Broad public benefit would be realized.”

(On Verifiable:)  “The technical underpinnings of this proposal are excellent. The references provided extremely clear scientific validation for each of the work packages and the methods have strong documented support from federal environmental agencies.”

(On Feasible:)  “The technical expertise in this team is of the highest level and the strong track record of previous successful collaboration across these partners and the documented experience with large, international grants is compelling.”

(On Durable:)  “The benefits of just the knowledge accrued in the first six years will be durable, so that benefit will never be diminished.”

-MacArthur 100&Change Review Panel

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