Introducing the Schmidt Center at Broad Institute

March 25, 2021

We are thrilled to announce an initiative more than a year in the making that furthers our mission of betting early on exceptional people making the world better, particularly through innovative breakthroughs in science and technology.

Today we’re launching the Schmidt Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

The Schmidt Center was inspired by two recent revolutions: the growth of emerging technologies like machine learning and the advances in living systems data like next-generation DNA sequencing. The Center will combine these fields to create a new era of biology, one that ultimately could lead to a dramatic improvement of human health through more powerful disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

“We are making a big bet that this new center will explore the next scientific frontier, and its success may well be in solving a problem that doesn’t yet exist.” – Eric and Wendy Schmidt

Following the approach we take at Schmidt Futures, the Schmidt Center will build a network of global talent to tackle problems of biological importance across disciplines and make its discoveries publicly available for further research to follow. 

Embedded within the Schmidt Center’s work will be a deep, guiding commitment to ethics and equity—essential in two scientific fields that have historically excluded women and people of color. Machine learning and AI, applied to biology, have the potential to transform human health for the better, but ensuring everyone benefits means thinking carefully and collaboratively about how we approach every step. 

“This is the beginning of a journey that will unfold over many decades. Our mission here is to understand, analyze, and model the entire cell taking a fresh perspective inspired by discrete mathematics and computer science, as well as three-dimensional time-varying physical models.” – Stuart Feldman, Schmidt Futures Chief Scientist 

We are excited for our partnership with the Broad Institute, and deeply grateful to Eli and Edythe Broad for their generosity and ambitious spirit. For years, the Broad Institute has excelled at connecting the world’s best scientists and equipping them with the tools to seek answers to questions previously thought impossible. We have no doubt the same will be true for the Schmidt Center.

Before joining the Biden Administration as the first cabinet-level science advisor, and following his work to help develop the Schmidt Center, Broad founding director Eric Lander served as a senior advisor to Schmidt Futures. The Center will now be co-directed by Caroline Uhler and Anthony Philippakis.

The Schmidt Center represents Schmidt Futures’ largest philanthropic gift to date. We are excited for both the innovation that will emerge and the impact this could have on human health for decades, if not centuries, to come. 

You can read more about the Schmidt Center in the Boston Globe here, and learn about the Center’s directors and academic and industry partners in the full announcement here.