5 Scientific Organizations Working To Improve Lives

The advancement of scientific discoveries and research can lead to breakthroughs in technologies that help people in many ways. From new medical procedures to general education about the world around us, science can broaden our horizons for the better. In no particular order, this list looks at several organizations using STEM to change the way we live.

Kicking off our list at #1 is the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, located in St. Louis, Missouri. It was founded with the mission to improve the human condition through the study of plants. The nonprofit features hundreds of scientists from more than 20 different countries who work in teams focused on research at the nexus of food, energy, and the environment.

The center is home to an education, research, and outreach lab. It was built to create research opportunities for students of all ages. The K-12 programs and curricula aim to engage students to explore STEM concepts; through virtual laboratories and professional development training for teachers, the nonprofit hopes to increase the accessibility of plant science education opportunities.

Taking the #2 spot is the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The organization conducts scientific research with the goal of bringing new insights aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of people of all backgrounds and ages.

Through its Healthy Minds Innovations initiative, the organization works to translate science into tools to cultivate and measure well-being. The Healthy Minds Program App offers podcast-style lessons and both seated and active meditations. Users can learn what the science says about the brain while developing skills to tap into these lessons for a healthier, happier life.

The #3 entry is Seeding Labs. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, its mission is to catalyze scientific progress in the developing world by providing scientists with lab equipment, training, and the opportunity to collaborate with experts in their field. All of the supplied equipment is donated by Seeding Lab's donors from their surplus, overstock, or traded-in items.

Seeding Labs' TeleScience video platform is designed to connect scientists worldwide with the goal of accelerating teaching and research; the clips feature lab trips and tips. In addition, Seeding Labs works to connect scientists to appropriate mentorships and fellowship opportunities.

At #4, we present the Aravind Eye Care System. Aravind operates a network of ophthalmic care facilities, a postgraduate institute, a management training and consulting institute, an equipment manufacturing unit, and eye banks throughout South India.

Aravind's mission is to eliminate needless blindness and provide large volume, high quality, and affordable care. Half of its patients receive services either free of cost or at a steeply subsidized rate. Its research institute is focused on finding new ways to reduce the burden of blindness.

To close our list at #5, we have UN Global Pulse, the UN Secretary-General’s initiative on big data and artificial intelligence. It works through a network of labs with the goal of accelerating the discovery and responsible use of these tools for sustainable development, humanitarian action, and peace-building.

UN Global Pulse also works to influence policy related to data privacy, AI ethics, and digital cooperation. For artificial intelligence legislation, it suggests human rights-based innovation through the development of standards and guidelines to ensure a safe and equitable digital future.