The Blavatnik Family Foundation recognizes the immense global health challenges facing the world today.
Too many people around the world suffer from preventable diseases, while global health issues threaten the lives of millions. These challenges are immense, but they are neither inevitable nor unsolvable.
The Foundation believes that support for scientists in the early stage of their academic and professional careers will help to produce the technological advancements needed to overcome these challenges. The Foundation supports leading scientists and academic and research institutions to promote scientific progress across a wide range of disciplines and to further the discovery of new, beneficial solutions that have a dramatic, beneficial impact on society.
Over the past decade, the Foundation has
scientific and research institutions
Scientific and Research Institutions
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In November 2018, the Foundation pledged $200 million to Harvard Medical School to accelerate the pace of therapeutic discovery and support initiatives aimed at solving some of humanity’s most acute biomedical challenges. The gift, the largest in the School’s 236-year history, will help propel Harvard’s mission in transforming health through curiosity-driven research that stimulates the development of new therapies and tools to diagnose and prevent disease.
In 2013, the Foundation donated $50 million to Harvard University to launch a major initiative to expedite the development of basic scientific discoveries into new, breakthrough therapies and cures for diseases and to promote the nexus between scientific innovation and business.
The funding helped to create the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, which bridges the gap between innovative, early-stage life science research and successful development of high-impact biomedical products. Recent projects include research on cancer immunology, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, infectious diseases and reproductive medicine. In April 2019, the BFF pledged an additional $10 million to extend the existing Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator Fellowship Program at HBS for a further nine years from 2020 through 2029. In April 2019, the BFF pledged an additional $10 million to extend the existing Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator Fellowship Program at HBS for a further nine years from 2020 through 2029.
Funding also helped to create the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship Program at Harvard Business School, which offers five M.B.A. students an opportunity to experience entrepreneurship in life science through exposure to biomedical projects supported by the Accelerator, and by working with inventors from Harvard’s research laboratories, to promote the commercialization of innovative life science-oriented technologies. To date, nearly 50 projects have been funded, half of which are now in alliances with biopharmaceutical partners or new companies commercializing health-related products and services.
In 2009, the Foundation provided $10 million of support to Harvard University for scientific and technological research in the life sciences. The Foundation provided $5 million of support to the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for cancer vaccine research and $5 million to the Harvard University Technology Development Accelerator Fund.
In May 2018, the Foundation announced an additional $16 million grant to support the Blavatnik Initiative, furthering its work to advance interdisciplinary scientific research, discovery and development. The latest multi-year grant brings the total amount given to TAU by the Foundation over the years to more than $40 million.
In 2014, the Foundation announced $20 million in support to Tel Aviv University (TAU) to launch the Blavatnik Initiative, a multi-year program to advance interdisciplinary scientific research and development at the university. The Initiative, in part, launched the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, which combines biological, chemical and computational research to develop new medications that will alleviate suffering and save lives.
It also launched the Blavatnik President’s Faculty Recruitment Discretionary Fund, managed by TAU’s President, to bolster the University’s academic development by supporting the recruitment of outstanding young Israeli scientists researching innovative areas of nanoscience, neuroscience, cyber, environmental studies, computational linguistics, tissue engineering, imaging, and more.
A portion of a $20 million Blavatnik Initiative went toward the creation of the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center established in partnership with the Israel National Cyber Directorate. The Center advances awareness and solutions to the challenges that cyber poses to individuals, commercial enterprises, and sovereign states worldwide. The Center seeks to become an international leader in its field, and to increase academic awareness and efforts to promote cyber security. In 2022, an additional $25 million was committed to support these various initiatives.
The Blavatnik School of Computer Science and the Computer Science Research Fund at Tel Aviv University supports advanced computer science research, particularly in high-impact areas that contribute to Israel’s economic prosperity. The Fund also supports outstanding research students studying for advanced degrees and who will be involved in academia and industry in the future.
In 2016, the Foundation provided an additional multi-year $10 million grant to advance entrepreneurship in the life sciences and to expedite the development, application and commercialization of breakthrough research. The grant supports the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, which is designed to bridge the gap between life sciences research and business and to accelerate the commercialization of ground-breaking, investigator-initiated discoveries.
The grant also establishes the Blavatnik Fellows Program, giving a select group of young professionals’ access to Yale researchers, as well as inventors, venture capitalists and business leaders who will provide the fellows with the technical and business skills needed to become the next generation of leaders in scientific entrepreneurship.
In 2013, Foundation provided a multi-year $10 million grant for immunobiology research to explore inflammation and chronic disease. The grant supports the work of renowned Yale immunobiologists Ruslan Medzhitov and Richard Flavell to explore how inflammation impacts the body’s homeostatic control mechanisms to trigger the onset of disease.
In January 2019, the BFF entered into a 5-year, $5 million grant to support Professor Ruslan Medzhitov’s ongoing research into biological maintenance mechanisms. The research will explore issues including how the body fights aging, how these defense mechanisms can be leveraged to improve lives by reducing the impact of aging-associated diseases, the control mechanisms for these defenses, and defining the biological mechanisms of sleep and its effect on health and disease.
In April 2018, the Blavatnik Family Fellowship Fund was established at Stanford University School of Medicine to provide financial support in the form of scholarships and research stipends for PhD students enrolled in the Stanford Biosciences program. The $10 million supports five Blavatnik Fellows a year over the ten-year life of the Fund.
In 2016, the Blavatnik Family Fund for Bioscience Graduate Students was established at Stanford University to provide bioscience graduate students funds to pursue their research. Over two years, $2 million was given to support five graduate students per year.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation has provided $10 million to establish the Blavatnik Fund for Engineering Innovations in Health at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University to support doctoral students working at the intersection of engineering and health, promote early-stage research across disciplines, and accelerate the translation of research from the lab to the marketplace by providing seed funding for interdisciplinary and translational research projects.
Mount Sinai Health System
In May 2018, the Foundation gave $10 million in support to the Mount Sinai Health System to establish the Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Blavatnik Family Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The medical center serves as the clinical bridge to the health research institute by offering a full range of health services with the intimacy of a neighborhood doctor’s office. Through the Women’s Cancer Program, patients receive onsite tests, procedures, imaging, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as well as wellness and support services working individually with social workers and nutritionists.
In June 2013, the Foundation gave Mount Sinai $2 million in support over four years to the Mount Sinai Ovarian Cancer Translational Research Program and the Cancer Care Facility for Women. Also, the Foundation gave a separate $3 million four-year gift to support the ongoing work of the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai.
University of Pennsylvania
In May 2018, the Blavatnik Family Fellowship in Biomedical Research was established to support bioscience graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania. The $2 million, four-year fellowship provides critical financial support for five select PhD students enrolled in the Penn Biomedical Graduate Studies program and who are designated as Blavatnik Fellows.
University of Cambridge
Founded in 2014, the Blavatnik Cambridge Fellowships allows three (or exceptionally four) post-doctoral fellows from top Israeli universities to study for two years at Cambridge, with a focus on chemistry, physics, and biotechnology. The first five-year chapter of the program ended with a total expenditure of GBP 1 million and with 15 alumni either back in Israel or continuing their studies in Cambridge commenced in the fall of 2019. A renewal of the program for a further five years will commence in the fall of 2019 with a donation of GBP 1.1 million. The fellowship program is administered by the British Council in Israel which actively promotes academic and scientific exchange between Israel and the United Kingdom. Fellows receive an annual stipend of £30,000 for up to two years.
Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Foundation has provided $800,000 to the Sabin Vaccine Institute in its effort to reduce needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as Hookworm, Schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, Leishmaniasis, and River Blindness. Sabin, headquartered in Washington, D.C., develops vaccines, advocates for the use of existing vaccines and promotes access to affordable medical treatments.
National Academy of Sciences/Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
In April 2019, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the BFF entered into 5-year, $500,000 agreement whereby the BFF agreed to support annual national scientific conferences and lectures in Israel and the United States hosted by The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (IASH) and the NAS, respectively. The agreement was signed on April 7, 2019 in Jerusalem in the presence of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven (“Ruvi”) Rivlin.