Every year since I started to attend the World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland, it feels as if the presence of science is growing. And no wonder. This year’s theme, “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” seems to speak directly to the capabilities and promise of basic research as a tool to solve some of humanity’s grand challenges.

Joining me in the panel discussion were Sarah Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, United Arab Emirates; Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the U.S.; Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust in the U.K., Lars Heikensten, Executive Director, Nobel Foundation in Sweden; and V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, Indian Institute of Technology in Dehli, India. We talked a lot about the value of collaboration—across disciplines, nations and cultures. We discussed the challenges and barriers for science, from funding to limits to movement. The panelists offered ideas for supporting science, so it, in turn, can support our wellbeing.