This proposal is to hold an Ideas Lab workshop that leads into collaboration research scientists from three fields studying abiogenesis. These three fields are: (a) artificial life; (b) the physics of self-organization and (c) molecular life sciences. The intent is to begin developing novel, interdisciplinary research community.
The Ideas Lab workshop, a well-established commercial product delivered by Know Innovation, will be held for one week in summer 2022. It will convene 30 researchers drawn in equal number from researchers active at each of the three, named fields.
The output of the workshop will be a series of collaborative white papers, each co-written by a team comprising members from at least two of the three named fields. Each white paper will describe a specific initiative to develop the new research community. Ideas may range from a future workshop, a coauthored publication or a funding research proposal - but the workshop itself is intended to empower researchers to name and justify specific alternatives to this list based on their knowledge and experience. Each white paper will be reviewed and directed to useful next steps by an expert mentor team.
The project builds clarity, capacity and coordination for the science of abiogenesis by connecting top quality intellectual activity into a single community comprising members who understand one another's goals and progress. Improvements in clarity will comes from placing together researchers who currently use (a) different terminology and (b) similar terminology with different meanings to describe the phenomena they study. Improvements in coordination will come from simply connecting the complementary subfields into interwoven professional networks. Capacity will come from targeting young researchers who can, with appropriate encouragement, emphasize abiogenesis within their research careers.