Proposal for the Future of Rosetta

Dear friends, colleagues, and supporters of Rosetta:

I’m sure you are all aware of the rapid changes in our field of biomolecular structure prediction and design. Our Rosetta community has grown tremendously; our impact is rapidly extending into industry, materials, and the clinic; and deep learning is supercharging progress into the future. 

I’m thrilled to share with you today a Proposal for the Future of Rosetta and to invite you to discuss it at our upcoming Town Hall:

  • Thurs. June 30 Noon EDT = 9 AM PDT = 6 PM Europe = Midnight China

  • Zoom link is on the wiki

Here’s the history: Over the last several virtual RosettaCons, we have discussed the transformations in our field in “Future of Rosetta” breakout discussions. Then this past fall, a group of Rosetta scientists suggested that we should seriously consider shifting to a “free and open-source software (FOSS)” model to better position Rosetta as the standard platform for biomolecular modeling for all time. The Developer TeleCon group and the Executive Board discussed FOSS, and the Board created a FOSS Task Force (Brian Weitzner, Julia Koehler Leman, Neil King, Ashley Vater, Andy Watkins) and charged them with uncovering the issues involved in making such a transition. In the Task Force’s progress report to the Board in March, they suggested that the changes needed are much deeper than simply altering the licensing model: for a possible move to FOSS to be successful, we need to more deeply examine and adapt our organizational structure. The Board asked the Task Force to detail a proposal of an organizational transformation for the Rosetta Commons to suit our pressing and future needs. The Task Force has put in a ton of thought and work (thank you team!). Their full proposal can be seen by following the link above.

The proposal is audacious. It includes shifting the Commons to a non-profit organization, hiring staff, and updating our governance accordingly. It would require a technical roadmap, and it would lay the groundwork to establish a new funding model. The proposed organizational structure is designed to empower and invite contributions from scientists at all career stages and across all employment entities (academia, industry, government, non-profit). It honors our pioneering technical and community contributions, our leadership in education and diversity, and our culture of working “better together.” 

Today this vision is just a proposal. To determine whether this plan is right for us, we need input from all Rosetta stakeholders (trainees, PIs, licensees, funders). If this direction is right for us, we need to know how to make the plan even better. Some questions we have for you: 

  1. How do you see yourself in the proposal’s vision?

  2. Does the plan serve your goals? 

  3. How does the proposal align with how you would best be able to contribute to our community goals? 

  4. Will this plan best position us for the bright future ahead in biomolecular structure prediction and design? 

  5. How can the plan be strengthened and refined?

We need your feedback! First, we invite you to a running discussion in the new slack channel, #future-of-rosetta. The Town Hall is scheduled for Thursday June 30, and it is open to all who are interested in Rosetta’s future. The Task Force (whom I’d like to rename as the Future of Rosetta (FoR) Task Force) will present very briefly and then take questions from a crowd-sourced Questions and Comments Roster. Please read the proposal before the Town Hall, and you can start putting questions and comments into the Q&A roster now. We will record the Town Hall and make the video available. You are also welcome to reach out directly to any of the Task Force members (emails below), and of course please caucus in our usual subcommunities (each lab, JEDI, TeleCon, and various slack channels). And we invite you to share this message with others you know who care about the Rosetta community.

I am very much looking forward to seeing many of you at the Town Hall and hearing your thoughts on the future of the Rosetta Commons. I hope the proposal and discussion inspires you. The future is bright! 

In partnership,

Jeff Gray, Co-Director, Rosetta Commons

Future of Rosetta (FoR) Task Force

Brian Weitzner, 

Julia Koehler Leman, 

Neil King, 

Ashley Vater, 

Andy Watkins, 


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