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Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Announces First $50M in Grants

Image: Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Announces First $50M in Grants

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, left, smiles next to his wife Priscilla Chan as they prepare for a speech in San Francisco, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 12:52 PM

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub announced more than $50 million in grants to 47 investigators as part of the biomedical research initiative started by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

“We told researchers, give us your riskiest ideas,” said Stephen Quake, the Biohub’s co-leader, according to Nature. “There is a creative anarchy in the atmosphere here in the Silicon Valley that we want to harvest.”

The initiative aims to complement efforts of such organizations as the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization by funding research that is "above their threshold of risk," Quake told Nature. The effort also hopes to help researchers amass preliminary data that will help them get future NIH grants.

Jure Leskovec, a computer scientist at Stanford, is one investigator who will benefit from the millions of dollars in grants, and he says traditional funding probably would have never given him this kind of financial support for his research.

“I don’t think I’d get funding to pursue biological research through traditional funding sources because the grant reviewers would be skeptical,” Leskovec said, according to Nature. “They’d say, oh, he’s not one of us.”

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was launched in September of last year, aiming “to cure, prevent or manage all disease during our children’s lifetime,” Business Insider noted.

According to Quake, though the investigators receiving the grants will be working on several different projects over the course of the next five years, there was one specific thing the Biohub looked for when making selections from a pool of 700 applicants.

“I would say the one thing we tried to focus on new technologies and the basic science and mechanisms behind the disease,” Quake told Business Insider.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is valued at $3 billion.

It’s independent nonprofit, Biohub, is a partnership between Zuckerberg and his wife as well as Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco.

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The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub announced more than $50 million in grants to 47 investigators as part of the biomedical research initiative started by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.
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Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 12:52 PM
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