Yale University has received a $10 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, headed by American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, to advance entrepreneurship in the life sciences at Yale and to expedite the development, application, and commercialization of breakthrough research.
The multi-year grant will support the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, designed to bridge the gap between life sciences research and business and to accelerate the commercialization of groundbreaking, investigator-initiated discoveries. The grant also establishes the Blavatnik Fellows Program, giving a select group of young professionals access to Yale researchers, as well as inventors, venture capitalists, and business leaders, who will provide the fellows with the technical and business skills needed to become the next generation of leaders in scientific entrepreneurship.
“I am deeply grateful to the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and especially to Len Blavatnik, not only for this exceptional support, but also for our shared commitment to entrepreneurship as a way to serve some of society’s greatest unmet needs,” said President Peter Salovey ’86 Ph.D. “The fund will foster the next generation of leadership in innovation and help to translate Yale discoveries into real-world applications that can improve people’s lives.”
The Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale will provide dedicated and strategic resources to Yale faculty members, identifying commercially relevant research efforts, and creating ties to outside business interests that can turn new discoveries into marketable tools, treatments, drugs, and devices. The Blavatnik Fund will be structured as a sustainable program, with a portion of revenues earned in the first years reinvested to support the next generation of projects.
“Yale exemplifies the remarkable pace of growth and discovery in the life sciences,” said Blavatnik, founder and chair of Access Industries. “The Blavatnik Innovation Fund will help Yale attract entrepreneurial partners to quicken the discovery-to-market pipeline and to nurture future leaders in scientific entrepreneurism.”
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions throughout the world. In 2007, the Blavatnik Family Foundation established the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, awarded through the New York Academy of Sciences, to recognize innovative accomplishments that have an impact on life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering. In 2013, the foundation directed a $10 million grant to Yale immunobiologists Ruslan Medzhitov and Richard Flavell, whose pathbreaking studies of inflammation and chronic disease promise a paradigm shift in our understanding of human disease and its treatment. The Blavatnik Family Foundation also provided support to Tel Aviv University in 2014 to launch the Blavatnik Initiative, a multiyear program committed to the advancement of interdisciplinary scientific research, discovery, and development.