Previous Medical Research Funding Approach

The following information accurately represents the approach we took when we were funding medical research. As of February 2003, the Foundation's reduced asset base resulted in the indefinite suspension of our medical research funding, both that of individual investigators and our collaborative activities. We remain fully engaged in public policy activities to address critical medical and research issues.

When funding medical research, we determined the end result we’d like to achieve and then decided whether it was best to support a researcher or research group in a nonprofit research institution or to design and fund a cross-institutional research group. As a straightfoward approach, we decided to identify and fund specific people or organizations whose objectives matched our goals.

Here is an overview of our process:

Step 1: We identified the cause, for example, a disease for which we want to find a cure.

Step 2: We found prominent individuals in the field and looked at their current and previous projects, as well as how they were approaching the problem or working in a related field that might add valuable new perspectives to a given medical problem.

Step 3: We provided unrestricted funds to a group of scientists for three years. The funds could be used for any purpose that furthered the objectives: hire a post-doctoral fellow, purchase equipment, set up a web site. We left the door open for future funding, depending on the success of the research activities. This approach led to the development of our collaborative model, which included the Catalyst For a Cure for glaucoma and the Catalyst for Hair Follicle Biology.

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