Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal that’s even more ambitious than connecting the entire world to the internet: He and his wife Priscilla Chan want to help eradicate all disease by the end of this century. Zuckerberg and Chan have spent the past two years speaking to scientists and other experts to plan the endeavor.
Through their philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the commitment includes $600 million to fund a new research center in San Francisco where scientific and medical researchers will work alongside engineers on projects spanning years or even decades.
Zuckerberg and Chan hope that their effort will inspire other far-reaching efforts and collaboration in science, medicine and engineering, so that basic research is no longer relegated to the margins.
Nobel laureate David Baltimore wrote in the journal Science that private efforts such as Zuckerberg and Chan’s could help supplement government funding and “initiate research thrusts into unproven directions, which generally do not draw government funding.” Zuckerberg and Chan, the Gates added, “are making an incredible commitment to research and development that will lead to the breakthroughs to cure disease and lift millions out of poverty.”