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Scientific Research

Scientific Research

We believe that scientific progress has been, and will continue to be, one of the biggest contributors to improvements in human wellbeing, and we hope to play a part in accelerating it. We primarily support biomedical research but our interests are not limited to any particular field, disease, condition, or population. Instead, we seek to identify scientific research that has the potential for high impact and is under-supported by other funders. We are excited to support high-risk and unconventional science when the potential impact is sufficiently large.


Scientific research priorities

Our scientific research priorities are determined through the same mechanisms as our other causes, primarily by evaluating the importance, neglectedness and tractability of the ideas. We are excited to take on high-risk projects when the transformative potential is large enough.

We are broadly interested in research that may lead to improved understanding of topics related to human health. We are most interested in research that could affect a large number of people but which is underfunded by government agencies or other types of organizations.

Some aspects of the following topics are currently of particular interest: broad spectrum antiviral drugs, universal influenza vaccine, basic immunology, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, mechanisms of aging, epigenetics, novel scientific tools and methods, under-studied or unusual biological phenomena, and research on how biomedical research may be improved. Additionally, we are interested in research that supports the further development of plant-based meat replacements.

Grantmaking process

We typically identify portfolio areas by looking for metrics related to the number of lives affected (often starting with the World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease). We begin with landscaping exercises to identify important research topics that could have the greatest impact in a given area.

Once we understand the research gaps in these fields, we assess which gaps are underfunded and seem most amenable to progress if funded. Often as part of this process, we will attend scientific conferences and interview scientists as advisors, peer reviewers, or potential grantees. For more information, see our Guide for Grant Seekers.