BEACON is a place where we study EVOLUTION IN ACTION, and we have fun doing it! We study evolution going on in the lab and the field, evolution of “digital organisms” in artificial computer environments, and application of evolutionary principles to solving of real-world problems in engineering and computer science. Our students, postdocs and faculty learn to communicate across the chasm that once separated biology and the computational world. We already have over 400 people involved in BEACON, and they are the most diverse group you can imagine. They are learning to work together to break down some very big questions into chunks they can get their teeth into! BEACON funds about 50 seed projects at any time (distributed across its five partner universities, and often involving several of them). Projects cover the spectrum from pure and applied research to education and outreach. We don’t have financial support to offer to international students, but we do collaborate with international teams funded in their own countries. If you are interested in studying evolution in action, I invite you to peruse the BEACON web pages, then to write to us and see if there’s a way we can interact—if you don’t find someone else to write to, just write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or to one of the staffers you can find on our web pages.
Erik Goodman, BEACON Director