There has been a sea change in the scientific world, advanced even more rapidly by the recent compounded public crises. Accelerated discovery, and impact from such discoveries have come from convergence approaches across disciplines, sectors, institutions, and the multiple communities seeking the common goal of innovations that transform. The classic simultaneous pursuit of fundamental understanding and application has been termed Pasteur s quadrant, where use-inspired basic research occurs. In the classic schematic developed by Donald Stokes, three quadrants represent research approaches using a 2D plane in which the vertical dimension represents the quest for understanding (basic research) and the horizontal dimension represents the consideration of use (applied research). The three outer quadrants are Bohr s (pure basic research), Edison s (pure applied research), and Pasteur s (useinspired basic research). Viewing each of these axes as a continuum, we label the previously unnamed but contributory cell as the Innominate quadrant, where a nonzero amount of discovery and applied research also has value in generating scientific tools, novel processes or products that inform the other quadrants. More importantly, a reimagined Pasteur s quadrant schema shows a third dimension of Transformations over Time, occurring through a continuous fluid interchange among the quadrants. Transformative innovations may originate from any single quadrant. While work in Pasteur s quadrant has been shown to be highly productive, a dynamic fluid interchange among the quadrants is often involved and generates transformative advances at a faster rate. This should inform how we fund science, engineering, and medicine and educate the next generation of innovators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpgac092
JournalPNAS Nexus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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