New R&D Funding

The latest IBO feature on new sources of R&D funding focuses on June announcements involving sales opportunities for companies producing instruments and lab products.

The US government has revealed that more than $4 billion has been contributed by foundations, institutional investors, universities and other donors to the Clean Energy Investment Initiative. A group of long-term investors, such as the University of California and TIAA-CREF, is planning an initial investment of $1.2 billion to fund companies and projects for commercial investment in technologies with potential impact on climate change that would typically not be funded. Other foundations, endowments and investors, including Goldman Sachs and the Sierra Club, have committed to funding technologies for clean energy, energy efficiency, market innovations in climate solutions and sustainable agriculture. Funding recipients will include public-private partnerships and start-ups.

The Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute, with a $500 million match by Phil and Penny Knight, has raised over $1 billion for research, with plans to raise $200 million more. The funds will be used for a 10-year program for early detection of lethal cancers. The Center will hire 250–300 scientists and physicians for the effort. According to Science, about half of the funds will go toward supporting and recruiting researchers, $70 million will be for a “director’s innovation fund” for new technologies, and, if possible, $250 million would remain in an endowment at the end of the project period. Two buildings will be constructed—a center for interdisciplinary cancer research and a building for expanded clinical trials, which, according to the Portland Tribune, will cost $340 million.

The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (now the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute) has received $100 million from billionaire Conrad Prebys to apply to its 10-year strategic plan. Announced in 2014, the plan aims to translate research into drugs and therapies. The Institute will use some of the funds to focus on basic and translational research in autoimmunity, metabolism, neural degeneration and oncology, according to the Times of San Diego. A portion of the donation will be for facility upgrades at the Institute’s La Jolla, California, location.

In a step toward its 2030 goal of manufacturing its products with sustainable materials, LEGO has announced that it will establish the LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre during 2015 and 2016. The company has pledged DKK 1 billion ($151 million = DKK 6.64 = $1) for R&D and implementation of sustainable materials for packaging and products. LEGO plans to hire over 100 materials specialists for the Centre to be based at its Billund, Denmark, headquarters.

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