Blavatnik Foundation Awards $10 Million for Engineering in Health

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University has announced a $10 million gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundationin support of research at the intersection of engineering and health.

Announced on Monday, the gift will support efforts designed to attract graduate student talent, promote early-stage research across disciplines, and accelerate the translation of research from the lab to the marketplace, including two major initiatives. The first, the Blavatnik Doctoral Fellows, will support doctoral students early in their careers working at the intersection of engineering and health; over the next ten years, up to fifty young researchers are expected to benefit from the program. The second, Blavatnik Acceleration Funds, will provide annual seed funding for interdisciplinary and translational research projects at the critical early stage as well as late-stage research ready for commercialization through licensing or startup ventures.

“My goal is to support research that is interdisciplinary and non-traditional, because that is where the truly revolutionary breakthroughs will come from,” said Blavatnik, who earned a master’s degree in computer science from Columbia Engineering in 1991 and went on to found Access Industries. “I am drawn to and intrigued by the work of smart young scientists and engineers as a way to leverage their enormous brain-power to improve health and life.”

“We are deeply grateful for this transformative gift that will fund pioneering research for the next ten years,” said Mary C. Boyce, dean of the engineering school. “With his generous gift, Len Blavatnik is furthering our vision of ‘Engineering for a Healthy Humanity’ by supporting a research pipeline in health and medical research, from doctoral students just beginning their inquiries, to faculty at the crossroads of engineering and medicine, to funding the translation of their research from the laboratory to industry.”