Aphilanthropic organization established by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan will invest $3.4 billion in research to help cure, prevent, and manage human disease, according to a press statement released on Tuesday (December 7).
The money from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), which was founded in 2015, follows an earlier $3 billion investment and will be used to support scientific research over the next 10–15 years. Plans include establishing new research centers—such as an artificial intelligence institute at Harvard University and a biomedical imaging center with a yet-to-be determined location—as well as supporting collaborative projects such as the CZ Biohub Network, which will connect researchers working on disease mechanisms and therapies.
“Biomedical science and technology development hold tremendous promise to advance human health and treat disease,” Chan, a former pediatrician, says in the press statement. “Working as partners with scientists, patients, and open source communities, we’ve learned so much during these first five years of our science journey about where we can have the best impact in accelerating biomedicine. Now we’re ready to begin our next chapter.”
The CZI’s Biohub project, which launched in 2016 with an initial $600 million according to STAT, will be expanded and funded through at least 2031 with a share of up to $1 billion of the new funds. “A central premise for the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub was to break down the silos that limit collaboration between great institutions, and to support creative, innovative, and often risky research ideas,” Steve Quake, previously a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford University and now incoming president of the Biohub Network, says in the press statement. “The CZ Biohub Network will scale this model to other regions so we can pursue the world’s toughest and most important scientific challenges.”
The announcement comes as Zuckerberg and Facebook face ongoing fallout following a whistleblower’s account of the social media giant’s failure to prevent the spread of misinformation on its platforms. Facebook’s parent company, Facebook, Inc., which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, has since changed its name to Meta.