2017 is a year of retrenchment in government and research, with many of the leading bodies that we take for granted facing drastic budget cuts and thinking in shorter-term, survival mode.

I think there is an interesting comparison-correlation to be made there: during the Obama Presidency, perhaps because government was quite pro-active, comparatively speaking, on funding ground-breaking research in everything from climate change to curing infectious disease, the venture capital world became obsessed with "140 character" technologies.

Social media, on-demand economy, and consumer technologies were the rage, with blow up growth and billions of dollars in funding, and the "harder stuff" found it much more difficult to secure the dollars needed to succeed outside of government and foundations.

Now, because the shoe is on the other foot, it is time for the great venture capitalists to step up and again pursue the hardest and most exciting scientific and technological dreams, not just those on the path to the fastest dollar.

There are, thankfully, early signs that those leaders are beginning to step up.

Multiple "hard science" funds, such as Breakthrough Labs, have raised between $50-200m this year, giving such investors new dry powder.

In addition, several powerful VCs I know who spent most of 2014-2016 funding the likes of Uber haven't stopped doing that, but they have begun telling me over coffee about their exciting "frontier" technology investments.

"It's a big change for us but, since we invested in a bunch of Uber rounds and Uber is big into self-driving, we figured, why not throw $10m at the flying car," one told me, while discussing a recent stealth Series A he led last month.

If that really is the venture capital attitude of the future, count me in. After all, more than one great strategist has said, "good times conceal genius, hard times reveal it." In challenging times like this, it will be exciting if geniuses get back to solving the greatest problems.