Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan employ the first 47 employees for the Institute of Biomedical Research Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. This process took more than $50 million, writes Science.
The institution was launched on the ground of the non-profit organization Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that was established by the couple after they give birth to their daughter in November 2015. The Institute embraces the purpose of finding ways to “treat, prevent or control all the diseases before the end of this century.” Zuckerberg and Chan committed to investing 99 percent of their funds, which are beyond $40 billion. In September 2016, they pronounced that they will invest three billion dollars in the next 10 years.
Chan Zuckerberg Biohub should summon the researchers from Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. The first project that is initiated will be the creation of cellular atlas and the study of infectious diseases. Scientists researching in the institute should hold the least researched departures of biology and medicine, which usually do not take grants on account of the volatility of the results. One of the leaders of Biohub, Stephen Quake explained that “We instigate the scientists to come up with their most risky ideas. In the Silicon Valley atmosphere, creative anarchy incurs, and we want to take advantage of this”.
The first 47 employees are experts and young scientists in various scientific departures. They can carry on research both on the frame of laboratories in their universities and in an equipped Biohub building. Under the contract, each of these scientists will receive an average of 300 thousand a year for five years, which is equal to the research grant of the National Institutes of Health in the US0 the main sponsor of biomedical research in the country. To establish an open science, all scientists will have to publish their preprints and put them in open access. The issue of full payment of peer-reviewed works in a scientific paper is also discussed so that they are all free of charge. In the meantime, researchers can apply their work to patients, the rights to which Biohub will enhance.
The initiative of Zuckerberg and Chan has already drawn many critics. It is argued that the biomedical research is not effective as the treatment of all diseases is not expected in the distant future although the leading sponsors invest more than $100 billion a year on it.