Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen committed to a $100 million funding for bioscience research in the span of 10 years. Stanford and Tufts universities will receive the first set of grants to create new research facilities.
The initial grants will also be given to individual scientists who have alternative methods towards tissue regeneration, gene editing, brain circuitry development and antibiotic resistance. According to Allen, bioscience research will have major implications for the human race.
Allen's commitment is based on his realization that bioscience is at its critical point in its early history, and the technology capable of launching it into a more measurable direction is already here. For instance, scientists can now manipulate DNA and remove the genes that cause hereditary illnesses.
The latest microscopes can also analyze and develop images of the living system's tiniest elements. Moreover, supercomputers can evaluate big data more massive than before.
"What I believe is that this is potentially a game-changer for our understanding of complex biological systems," said Allen whose current estimated net worth is around $17.7 billion.
In recent years, Allen has become one of the most influential sponsors in the field of science. Allen believes that questions surrounding intelligence and even life can potentially be solved through data. But this is only possible if scientists will not be afraid of failure that comes with big risks.
Allen's goal is to provide scientists with alternative approaches to bioscience, the equipment and staff they need. Moreover, Allen's mission is to connect these scientists with counterparts in engineering, computer science, physical science and math so they can reach their full potential.
Allen's new effort will be collectively housed in the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group. Tom Skalak Ph.D., who is a long-standing research vice president at the University of Virginia, was handpicked by Allen to run the show as the executive director.
Skalak said they are aiming to fund up to 25 scientists and 10 partner centers at any given time. These include both young and veteran researchers.
"Over the next 50 years bioscience will undergo a radical transformation as advancements in life sciences converge with mathematics, physical sciences and engineering," said Skalak who believes that now is the time to make a "transformative investment" in the field of bioscience and help make the world a better place by advancing its field.