This evening (Wednesday), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their next ambitious move. The first tangible step is a bio hub in Mission Bay where the best and brightest from Stanford, Cal, and UCSF will collaborate."Scientists are very independent and haven't always wanted to work in teams, but I think this is the way forward", UC Berkeley molecular biologist Robert Tjian said.
Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist from The Rockefeller University and the new head of Chan Zuckerberg's science program, came out to explain how the $3 billion will be spent.
With a goal to cure diseases by the year 2100, CZI will allow their participating scientists to focus on long-term, multi-decade efforts that can begin to yield results some 30, 40 or 50 years from now.
Zuckerberg said he and Chan want to "make a better future for our children" by bringing engineering to social change.
"I have worked with families at their most hard moments in their lives, from making the devastation diagnosis of leukaemia to sharing with them that we were unable to resuscitate their child", she said.
The couple decided past year to donate 99% of their wealth, which at the time was valued at more than 45 billion dollars (£34.7 billion), to the Chan Zuckerberg philanthropic ventures. Structured as an LLC, Mark will donate 99% of his Facebook shares, or about $45 billion, to the organization during his lifetime.
"It's not that no one is doing this today, but out of all the money that our society spends on science funding, probably not enough is going towards tool development", Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg wants to cure all disease.
He also called for investments in artificial intelligence to probe the brain, machine learning to explore cancer genomes, computer chips to detect infectious disease and bloodstream monitors to catch diseases. The group's goal is to advance human potential and equality. He said the goal is to bring scientists and engineers together to build tools and more technology, while growing a movement to fund science.
The first is the Cell Atlas, a "map" that describes the different types of cells that control the body's major organs. "The biggest breakthroughs take many years".
Their research will focus on "understanding underlying mechanisms of disease and developing new technologies which will lead to actionable diagnostics and effective therapies", the billionaire said. As Gates said: "We desperately need this science".